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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, August 4, 2019

Jessica Pegula

Jessica Pegula needed just 59 minutes to realize a dream as she swept Camila Giorgi, 6-2, 6-2, for her first career WTA title at the Citi Open.

Photo credit: Citi Open Facebook

Jessica Pegula could see the finish line looming as clearly as the service line.

The 25-year-old American flew through the finish with a final flourish.

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On championship point, Pegula pumped an ace down the middle and dropped to a squat sealing her first WTA title in style with a 6-2, 6-2, triumph over Camila Giorgi in the Washington, D.C. final.

“I’ve always played so well here,” Pegula told the crowd afterward. “So I’m so happy I can get my first title here.”

The 59-minute capped a dream week for Pegula, who will rise to a career-high ranking of No. 54 when the new rankings are released tomorrow.

The Buffalo, New York native arrived at Rock Creek Park with just four wins on the season. Pegula powered to five wins this week defeating sixth-seeded Katerina Siniakova, Iga Swiatek, Lauren Davis and Anna Kalinskaya before dispatching the explosive Giorgi.

The former world No. 26 played near flawless tennis charging into her first final of the season with a 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over 17-year-old American Catie McNally yesterday.

Knowing the flat-hitting Italian thrives on playing first-strike tennis, Pegula came out with a clear game plan: beat the baseline blaster to the punch.

She executed it from the outset. Pegula won the toss, elected to receive and rapped a pair of return winners down the line breaking in the opening game.

Pegula plowed through eight of the first nine points to take charge.

When Pegula wasn’t torching returns right back at her opponent, she fired down the line drives beyond Giorgi’s reach. Blasting a clean backhand return winner for triple break point, Pegula broke again for 5-2 when Giorgi floated a forehand.

Pegula, who went the distance in yesterday’s semifinals, plastered a forehand down the line serving out the 24-minute opening set at 15.

It was a scatter-shot set for Giorgi, who did not hit a winner and committed 11 unforced errors in the opening set.

Giorgi, who played clean, assertive tennis in her semifinal sweep, could not find consistency in the opening set and struggled to start the second.

The world No. 62 gifted the break at 15 to start the second set. Giorgi jerked a backhand well wide on her first break point of the final.

Continuing to take the ball early, Pegula withstood her first service test to confirm the break for a 2-0 second-set lead.

Whipping her forehand forcefully into alternate corners, Pegula worked through a deuce hold for 3-1.

Though Giorgi is at her best straddling the baseline and taking the ball on the rise, Pegula’s aggressive court positioning largely stifled the Italian. Denying Giorgi angles with her deep returns, Pegula broke again for a 4-1 second-set lead.

Pegula closed her maiden title with embracing the dog days with a hearty hug for her dog, Matty.


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