WASHINGTON (AP) — Top-seeded Jessica Pegula lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 against No. 4 Maria Sakkari in the semifinals of the DC Open on Saturday.
Pegula, a 29-year-old born in Buffalo, who will be ranked No. 3 next week, was not attempting to hide her frustration at how things were going as she fell behind.
“She was playing lights-out there, for a while,” Pegula said.
After dropping one point early in the second set, Pegula shrieked. After missing a backhand return in the same game, she chucked her racket to the ground. After double-faulting later, she smacked a ball into the stands.
At 4-2 in the second, Sakkari was two points from serving for the victory. And then, as has happened before to Sakkari, she tightened up, began playing far less cleanly and gave up that edge.
“Sometimes she can be up and playing really good. And then sometimes her level can kind of drop or she can get frustrated,” Pegula said. “I kind of just telling myself, ‘OK, it’s got to stop at some point.’”
It did, and Pegula grabbed five consecutive games.
When the second set ended, Pegula waved her hands to get the partisan crowd to make more noise.
From 2-all in the third, though, Sakkari asserted herself and took over.
Asked to assess Sunday’s matchup, Pegula — who often plays doubles with Gauff — said: “I think there will be a lot of nerves, and we’ll just see who plays best.”
Pegula reached the semifinals by coming back to edge Elina Svitolina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 across more than two hours on Friday. Pegula saved six break points in the third set — five at 3-2, and the last while serving out the victory.