Ons Jabeur and Jessica Pegula continued their stellar runs at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain by securing straight-sets semifinal victories Thursday to advance to their first WTA 1000 finals.
Jabeur, the eighth seed from Tunisia, defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-3 in just 61 minutes. Pegula, the American No. 12 seed, handled Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 21 minutes.
Jabeur was dominant, winning 26 of 32 first-service points (81.3 percent), saving two of three break points and delivering five aces.
The 10th-ranked player in the world became the first ever Arab WTA player to reach a 1000-level final.
“I feel like I’m keeping to test myself, to test my patience,” Jabeur said. “To test, ‘OK, Ons, you said you want to be top five, you want to win titles — here it is, players, champions you are going to play against. Show me what you got.’ ”
Both players held serve in the second set until Jabeur, leading 4-3, won four straight points to break Alexandrova’s serve and take control.
“I know I was the favorite, I know I was playing good,” Jabeur said. “I knew also she was a little bit tired from playing a lot of matches. So mentally I was really focused and I was ready for the win and not accepting to lose this time.”
Pegula and Teichmann kept the lights on as their semifinal match lasted past midnight in Madrid. It was a slightly tighter match, but Pegula didn’t let it linger for long, winning four break points while being broken just twice.
Pegula lost a 4-2 lead in the second set when Teichmann rallied to tie it 4-4. But Pegula won break point to move back ahead and finished it off on her first match point in the next game.
“(Teichmann is) a super tricky lefty,” Pegula said. “It was hard because I felt like I couldn’t get a rhythm, really. Maybe the start of the first set she came out a little nervous and I was able to come out strong, which helped, but it was just tricky today.”
Teichmann could only win 19 of her 34 first-service points (55.9 percent).
Pegula, the daughter of Terry and Kim Pegula, who own the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, is ranked 14th in the world.
–Field Level Media