Given how well Jessica Pegula is currently playing tennis, having lost 0 sets and 11 games in total through Week 2 of the Australian Open, one might assume that she is satisfied with how things are going.
However, the third-seeded Pegula describes herself as a perfectionist. Friday’s 6-0, 6-2 triumph against Marta Kostyuk in the second round was followed by some self-criticism on what transpired late in the second set.
Pegula stated, “I was frustrated” after the 65-minute match.
By what, precisely? New York’s 28-year-old was dominating the match, having won 10 of the first 11 games and holding a 30-love lead when she stumbled ever so little and briefly. She missed three consecutive first serves. She netted a backhand stroke. She was shoved. She committed a double-fault. She began to murmur beneath her breath. She fired a backhand long to conclude an exchange of 11 strokes. Pegula was broken there, and her advantage in the second set shrunk to 4-2. Three minutes of her performance were subpar.
Oh, the dread!
“When I was younger, it appeared to be a negative attitude. Pegula stated she has worked on “not being so hard on myself during matches” because she used to be “very negative or down on myself.”
Pegula will need to defeat 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in order to return to the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park, where she has reached that point in each of the past two years. She has yet to advance further to that stage at a Grand Slam event.
The remaining matches on the top half of the women’s draw all feature at least one former major champion: No. 1 Iga Swiatek vs. No. 9 Elena Rybakina, No. 7 Coco Gauff vs. No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko, and No. 24 Victoria Azarenka vs. either No. 6 Maria Sakkari or Zhu Lin, who were scheduled to play Friday night.
Pegula is not the only lady who has been somewhat domineering in the past.
Krejcikova, who defeated Anhelina Kalinina 6-2, 6-3, has also not surrendered a set and given her opponents 14 games.
Swiatek, a three-time major champion, defeated Cristina Bucsa, a qualifier, 6-0, 6-1. Swiatek has won every set and has lost only 15 games. Current Wimbledon champion Rybakina defeated 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
“Since my first day here, I’ve gained in confidence. Swiatek stated, “I’m not even referring to matches, but also practises.” “I’ve put in so much effort to feel more secure and relaxed on the court.”
Gauff, an 18-year-old from Florida, defeated Bernarda Pera, 6-3, 6-2, to go to a match against Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion. Opponents of Gauff have amassed all 19 games over three encounters.
In addition to playing doubles with her friend Pegula in Melbourne, she is monitoring a potential semifinal opponent.
“As a buddy, I do watch her tournaments,” said Gauff, who lost to Swiatek in the Roland Garros final last June. “She has been performing admirably. She consistently plays well. She seems to be one of those players on the circuit who consistently performs well. I believe that she is always a contender in Slams. This is merely my own opinion.”
In the fourth round of the men’s tournament, the No. 3 seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas, will face the No. 15 seed, Jannik Sinner. Tsitsipas, a 24-year-old Greek who lost the 2021 French Open final to Novak Djokovic, was one point away from surrendering the second set but held on to defeat Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Another match scheduled for Sunday was No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime versus Jiri Lehecka.
Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-2. McDonald had defeated 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the previous round.
No. 16 Frances Tiafoe faced No. 18 Karen Khachanov, No. 7 Daniil Medvedev faced No. 29 Sebastian Korda, and No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz faced No. 20 Denis Shapovalov.
The 21-year-old Italian Sinner overcame a two-set deficit for the first time in his career and won the final 12 games to defeat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.
Certainly, the first two sets were quite challenging for me, said Sinner. “I entered the court with one strategy, but I had to make some adjustments.”
That worked in the end.