American Jessica Pegula dominated Belarusian world No.1 Aryna Sabalenka (6-4, 6-3) in the group stage of the WTA Masters in Cancun (Mexico) on Tuesday, thus qualifying for the semi-finals before her last match of chickens.
Both players won their first match on Sunday. Pegula thus takes the lead of the group and is even assured of first place, after the victory in three sets of the Kazakh Elena Rybakina over the Greek Maria Sakkari 6-0, 6-7 (4/7), 7/6 ( 7/2).
In great difficulty on his service games (five breaks conceded), Sabalenka, with 33 unforced errors, managed to save six match points before losing. Pegula (world No.5) had not won against the Belarusian since 2020 and the first of their six confrontations.
“I feel better when I play the very best this year,” Pegula appreciated. “I’m not making a big deal out of it. Last year when I reached the Top 5, I think I got a little stuck mentally. I had thoughts like, do I deserve to be in this group? »
Sabalenka, who must defend her place as world No.1 during the tournament against the Polish Iga Swiatek, placed in the other group, will qualify for the semi-finals if she dominates Rybakina on Thursday.
The Belarusian was once again critical of the court, which she had already deemed unworthy of such a tournament. “The terrain is unpredictable, we don’t know if the bounce of the ball will help us or destabilize us.”
The Masters table is divided into two groups of four. The top two in each group qualify for the semi-finals which will start on Saturday, before the final on Sunday.