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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday April 5, 2024

Jessica Pegula

After squandering four match points, Jessica Pegula saved for of her own and converted her fifth to top Victoria Azarenka in quarterfinal action in Charleston.

Photo Source: Elsa/ Getty

She showed up on the Tennis Channel interview desk mere minutes after saving a quartet of match points and earning a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7) win over Victoria Azarenka to reach the semis at the Credit One Charleston Open. Forgive Jessica Pegula if she couldn’t exactly find the words to describe that roller coaster ride.

Tennis Express

“I’m still recovering,” she said. “It was just 6-3 like six minutes ago, I’m still there.”

Credit top-seeded Pegula, who squandered four match points while serving for the win at 5-4 in the final set, for the courage of conviction that it took to win this excruciating match. The Buffalo, NY native admitted that she felt like throwing in the towel after falling behind 6-3 in the third-set tiebreak, but instead mounted a late surge, won six of the final seven points, and came away with another hard-fought win.

What was she most proud of?

“I think just how I didn’t totally let my emotions get me at the end,” said the World No.5. “I started the tiebreak super nervous. I blew the match points – didn’t play horrible, I went for it – but whenever that happens you start the tiebreak and you feel like you already should have won.”

“I missed a couple of easy returns and I was like ‘Shoot, I’m kind of not feeling this right now. I knelt down at 6-3 [and said to myself] ‘I don’t feel good right now – this is not great.’

“I was able to work my way back in and then she obviously got really tight, too. I knew if I could just keep it closer, I would have a chance, it was just battling a lot of nerves – I’m just glad I got through that.”

It seemed as if Pegula, who will face former Charleston champion Daria Kasatkina (Kasatkina defeated Romania’s Jaqueline Cristian in three sets) in the semis, was headed for a straightforward victory, but she lost the plot as Azarenka turned up her intensity and found a way back into the match.

Down a set and a break, the 12th-seed reeled off five consecutive games to take the middle set, 6-3.

“I was playing great at a set and 3-1,” Pegula said.

Pegula didn’t hang her head in the third and eventually found her way from a break down to 5-4, with Azarenka serving 0-40. But four match points would go begging before the pair eventually headed to the tiebreak.

Pegula reaches her third clay-court semifinal and improves to 3-3 lifetime against Azarenka, a player that she has grown to know very well over the years.

“We know each other so well, we’ve played several times, we’ve played in big matches, we’ve practiced in our back yard in Boca several times, we practiced here the other day,” she said. “It can almost be more frustrating because you kind of know what [she is] going to do to you, you know what you are trying to and you are just trying to see who can execute it better throughout the match. It can be tricky, but at least you know what to expect."

Collins Stretches Win Streak to 11

Danielle Collins continued her torrid tennis on Friday in Charleston as she raced past Belgium's Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-4 to set a semifinal with Maria Sakkari. Sakkari continued her uptick in form with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over former champion Veronika Kudermetova.

With Collins and Pegula in the semifinals, there are two Americans in the last four at Charleston for the first time since 2013. 


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