Jessica Pegula was straight class after suffering a surprise defeat in the Tokyo final as the American tennis star applauded the Russian's performance throughout the entire week. Pegula, seeded at No 2, failed to win her second title of the year after eighth-seeded Kudermetova handed her a 7-5 6-1 loss.
Moments after 26-year-old Kudermetova lifted her second WTA title, Pegula spoke very highly of the Russian. “I want to congratulate Veronika and her team. She played some amazing tennis this week and was just too good today...
Thank you to all the fans for coming out. The Japanese fans have been amazing. Hopefully I made some new fans. I can’t wait to come back," Pegula said after the final.
Kudermetova also praised Pegula
Kudermetova started the match with an early 3-0 lead but Pegula got the break back and the two were tied to five games apiece after the opening 10 games.
Then, probably the key moment of the match happened when Kudermetova served out the 11th game for a 6-5 lead and broke Pegula in the 12th game to seal the first set. After winning the first set, Kudermetova broke Pegula in the second and sixth games to complete a two-set win.
"Jessica is a great player, she’s a great fighter, and I prepared myself for the fight. When it was 5-5 in the first set, I just said to myself, ‘Veronika, you just need to fight, you just need to do everything that you can,’ and I did," Kudermetova said after beating Pegula.
Prior to coming to Tokyo, Kudermetova was struggling heavily with her form and was coming off consecutive early exits. "I’m really happy because before, it was not an easy time for me, it was really tough moments. Now I’m really happy and I have a lot of motivation for the next weeks," Kudermetova said.