Jessica Pegula beats world #2 Naomi Osaka in Rome


Jessica Pegula celebrates winning and shakes hands on day 5 of after the Internazionali BNL d’Italia match between Naomi Osaka of Japan and Jessica Pegula of USA at Foro Italico on May 12, 2021 in Rome, Italy. Sporting stadiums around Italy remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

(WIVB) – Jessica Pegula earned arguably the biggest victory of her career Wednesday, beating second-ranked Naomi Osaka in the Round of 32 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Pegula won in straight sets, 7-6 (2), 6-2. She advances to the quarterfinals, where she’ll face 33rd-ranked Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.

Osaka was ranked #1 in the world as recently as June 2019. She had a bye in the first round of this event.

Pegula, the daughter of Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, was ranked 31st worldwide in the WTA’s latest rankings released on Monday. That is the highest ranking of her career.

Pegula’s stock rose with a run to the Australian Open quarterfinals in February, which marked her first time advancing that far in a major. Pegula was ranked in the 60s prior to the Australian Open.

Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.

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