Jessica Pegula saves match points to beat ‘fearless’ Anastasia Potapova, up next the in-form Elena Rybakina

Shahida Jacobs
Jessica Pegula in action
Jessica Pegula during her tennis match

Jessica Pegula came back from the brink during the late, late show at the Miami Open as she saved two match points en route to beating Anastasia Potapova.

The Russian took out sixth seed Coco Gauff and 23rd seed Zheng Qinwen in her previous two matches and looked set to also add third Pegula’s name to the list during the early stages of their quarter-final clash.

However, the American held firm and came away with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) victory, saving two match points, with the match only finishing at 1:30am in Florida due to a lengthy rain delay.

“She was just playing fearless, just going for her shots, moving well,” Pegula said. “The key was to not get too frustrated and just try and stay within one break in the third even though I was really gassed.

“I knew regardless she would get tight trying to close it out. She got a little tight and I was able to take my chances.”

There were five breaks of serve in the first set with Potapova edging it 3-2, but Pegula turned the tables as she broke three times in the second set to take the match to a decider.

After going 2-0 down, the Potapova broke twice as she won four consecutive games to lead 4-2, which eventually became 5-4.

The 27th seed came out to serve for the match and eked out two match points, but Pegula denied her and broke back only for the Russian to again go up a break in the next game.

The American was again forced to pull out all the stops as she broke again and then edged the tie-breaker.

She faces Elena Rybakina – who defeated Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-0 – in the semi-finals with the Kazakh player chasing the Sunshine Double after winning the Indian Wells Open title a fortnight ago.

Pegula, though, leads their head-to-head 2-0.

“I don’t mind playing her, at least in the past,” she said. “Obviously she’s picked up her level since then, so it’ll be a tough test, especially after this match, just physically see how I feel. Hopefully I can recover in time. At least I have another day.

“I think she and [Aryna] Sabalenka are the ones to beat right now so it’s going to be a great test and a deserved semi for a tournament like this.”

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