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'She's Definitely Not Invincible in My Mind' - When it Comes to Facing Swiatek, Pegula Has a Blueprint for Success

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday March 12, 2023

For those who followed the rise of Jessica Pegula in 2022 and 2023, you’ll know that Iga Swiatek was a familiar roadblock for the American, even as she was rocketing into the Top 10 for the first time, and later, the Top 5.

Tennis Express

The Polish juggernaut slashed past Pegula all four times they met in 2022, and closed the door on her swiftly twice at the Slams, at Roland-Garros and the US Open in the quarterfinals.

But something clicked for Pegula in January when she rifled past Swiatek at United Cup, 6-2, 6-2. Though she lost to Swiatek a month later, and decisively so, at Doha (6-3, 6-0), the American has come away with some more belief that she can play and execute at a high level against Swiatek.

She was asked if the win helped her chip away at Iga’s “aura of invincibility in her mind” and said the following:

“She's definitely not invincible in my mind,” Pegula told reporters on Sunday at Indian Wells, after her three-set win over Anastasia Potapova. “I have played her in pretty close matches. But obviously with her winning, a lot of matches and the streak she went on last year, she definitely was feeling it for a while there."

Pegula admits that she was nearly perfect, in conditions that suited her perfectly. But that doesn't change the fact that the triumph helped her get a better feel for what might work against Swiatek on a given day.

“But [beating her at United Cup] definitely helps," she said. "I think it helps just knowing what I have to do to win, knowing what worked, what didn't work. I played a pretty flawless match, to be honest, that match. I kind of did everything I wanted to do and it was just working. Some days are like that and you take it. But I think obviously the conditions were different, courts were pretty fast, and I think it maybe favored me a little bit.”

Pegula believes that she learned a lot from the contest and hopes the tactics and patterns stick with her when the pair meet in the future.

“It definitely helps strategy-wise, what I know I need to do and knowing that it worked, for the most part, definitely gives confidence, for whenever the next time I have to play her,” she said. “You just try to do it. It doesn't always execute perfectly, but I think it kind of gives an idea of what you should do and how you have to play to beat her, because she's obviously the best player right now.”