Jessica Pegula kicked off a stretch of back-to-back 1000-point tournaments on the WTA Tour by lifting the trophy on Sunday evening in Montreal.
The first of two consecutive Premier 1000 events on the WTA Tour took place this past week in Montreal and world number three Pegula captured the title, beating Liudmila Samsonova 6-1, 6-0 in the final on Sunday afternoon.
It wasn’t an easy week for Pegula, who had to get past world number one Iga Swiatek in the semifinals, but the American did just that with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 victory. She had previously knocked out doubles partner and recent Washington champion Coco Gauff 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
The championship match was, however, just about as easy as it gets for Pegula. She had the weather to thank for that, as Toronto’s number four seed got in her semifinal showdown against Swiatek before the heavens opened up later on Saturday evening.
That pushed Samsonova’s semifinal matchup with Elena Rybakina to Sunday afternoon, so the Russian had to play two matches in a day. Samsonova needed three sets to beat her opponent, after which she had nothing left for the final just a couple of hours later.
Reacting to her win, Pegula said: “I feel great. I know obviously physically she wasn't feeling her best, but at the same time I played a really clean match. I don't really think I made any unforced errors or anything.
"I played kind of a perfect match. I feel like I did enough to where I could just play freely, and I kept trying to get the break and just hold for as long as I could until I won the match. So, yeah, it was a good day."
Pegula’s triumph was her second at the 1000-point level, having previously gotten the job done last fall in Guadalajara.
It was still a sparkling week for Samsonova, whose path to the title match included victories over Katerina Siniakova, Qinwen Zheng, Aryna Sabalenka (the world number two), Belinda Bencic (the Tokyo Olympics champion) and Rybakina (the world number four).
Samsonova went to three sets against both Siniakova and Sabalenka, so it was an energy-sapping week for her even prior to the Sunday slog.
Despite her loss to Pegula, a rich run of form continued for the world number 12, as she was coming off a semifinal showing in Washington, D.C.
Pegula and Gauff have been the WTA’s top doubles team in 2023 and they are currently tied at number five in the individual doubles rankings. They teamed up in Montreal and won their first-round National Bank Open match before withdrawing to focus on singles.
Their quarterfinal contest marked their third head-to-head meeting and second of the year. Gauff won in straight sets earlier this summer on the grass courts of Eastbourne, but Pegula’s revenge in Montreal gave her a 2-1 overall lead in the matchup.
In the wise words of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, “we’re on to Cincinnati.”
Pegula, Samsonova and the rest of the tour now head to Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open, which is the second 1000-point tournament in as many weeks on the tennis tours.
As usual, Swiatek is favored on the women’s side at +225. The top-seeded Pole is followed by Sabalenka (+500), Rybakina (+550) and Pegula (+700).