FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ons Jabeur rallied for a three-set victory over Jessica Pegula on Wednesday night, keeping alive the U.S. Open finalist’s hopes of advancing out of group play in the season-ending event.
No. 3 Pegula, another first-time WTA Finals participant who finished the night 0-4 in the tournament after losing in doubles with fellow American Coco Gauff, has lost nine in a row against top five foes.
Pegula kept alive her hopes for the semifinals by winning a set while falling to 0-2. She would need a straight-sets win over Sabalenka, while Sakkari would have to win in straight sets over Jabeur on Friday.
The 28-year-old Buffalo native couldn’t believe she still had a shot at the semifinals.
“I’m still in?” she asked. “I don’t know. I’m like 0-4 the last two days. I take back what I said about the format not really mattering. Yeah, if you’re losing four times in, like, three days, it definitely kinda sucks more than when you have a week to reset.”
The event was moved to Texas from China because of concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former government official there of sexual assault.
Jabeur won the last three games in each of the second and third sets in her 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory after dropping seven consecutive games early in the match.
Pegula couldn’t do it again, losing at love on her serve to give Jabeur the chance to close out the match.
After dropping the first game of the match, Pegula won seven in a row for a 1-0 lead in the second set before Jabeur, who had 11 unforced errors in the first set, held serve.
“She was playing really well, and she was playing very fast,” Jabeur said. “I just had to find that click to change up the rhythm and impose my game more than her game.”
American Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands beat Pegula and Gauff 3-6, 6-0, 10-5 in a champions tiebreaker.
Pegula and Gauff make up the first doubles team also to compete in singles at the WTA Finals since Venus and Serena Williams 13 years ago.