Pegula Upsets No. 4 Seed Czink at Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Jessica Pegula 2

Jessica Pegula

By McCarton Ackerman

(February 7, 2013 )MIDLAND, Mich. – The hallmark 25th anniversary of the Dow Corning Tennis Classic at the Midland Community Tennis Center continued on Thursday with all second round singles matches and remaining first round doubles matches taking place. American teenager Jessica Pegula provided the upset of the day against No. 4 seed Melinda Czink, while top seed Lauren Davis of the US rolled through her second round match.

Utilizing a strong first serve and flat forehand, 18-year-old Pegula dictated the points in her match as early as possible. Running her veteran opponent around the court and not dropping serve once, a lone break of serve in each set was all Pegula needed to move into the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win.

“I just tried to make sure I was ready after my serve because she returns well and then take advantage of any opportunities that came up,” said Pegula. “I definitely thought I executed my game plan well.”

Pegula, now ranked No. 150, jumped over 140 spots in the rankings in 2012 after strong results in USTA Pro Circuit events, including finalist showings at the $100,000 challenger in Vancouver, Canada and the $50,000 challenger in Sacramento, Calif. Today’s win against Czink was one of the biggest of her young career.

“A player like Melinda will play at a high level the whole match, so that’s what I’ve been working on now and trying to do that in every match,” she said.

In an earlier day session match, No. 1 seed Lauren Davis easily beat fellow American Alexa Glatch 6-2, 6-2. In Tuesday’s evening session, Davis struggled for nearly three hours before prevailing in her opening round match.

“I was still a little bit tired from that match, so I knew the match against Alexa today would have to be a lot less physical if I wanted to get the job done,” she said. “I stuck to my game plan and didn’t back down, so I was really happy about that.

Two other Americans also advanced into the quarterfinals. Mallory Burdette, who has climbed to No. 145 in the world after not having a pro ranking just seven months ago, dispatched fellow American and reigning US Open girls’ singles champion Samantha Crawford 6-2, 7-6 (3). Maria Sanchez also prevailed in another all-American match by defeating American teen Victoria Duval 6-2, 6-2. Duval took out No. 2 seed CoCo Vandeweghe in yesterday’s play.

Other players to advance into the quarterfinals include No. 7 seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, No. 8 seed Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia and Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia. The lone match to be completed as of press time was an evening session doubles match between Samantha Murray of Great Britain and Maria-Fernanda Alves of Brazil against the American team of Mallory Burdette and Jessica Pegula.

All quarterfinal singles matches and remaining quarterfinal doubles matches will take place during Thursday’s play, which begins at 10:00am. The feature match of the day session will see No. 1 seed Lauren Davis take on Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia, while Maria Sanchez of the US square off against Ajla Tomljanovic in the feature evening match.

The Dow Corning Tennis Classic is in its 25th year on the USTA Pro Circuit, making it the longest-running women’s event on the USTA Pro Circuit.

Dow Corning Tennis Classic
A USTA Pro Circuit Event
Thursday, February 7
Midland Community Tennis Center
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

Thursday, February 7 – RESULTS

Main Draw Singles – 2nd Round
Lauren Davis, United States (1), def. Alexa Glatch, United States, 6-2, 6-2
Jessica Pegula, United States, def. Melinda Czink, Hungary (4), 6-4, 6-4
Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia, def. Tatjana Malek, Germany (5), 1-6, 6-3, 6-1
Ajla Tomljanovic, Croatia, def. Olga Puchkova, Russia (6), 6-1, 6-4
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia (7), def. Jill Craybas, United States, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2
Monica Puig, Puerto Rico (8), def. Sachia Vickery, United States (Q), 6-4, 6-4
Mallory Burdette, United States, def. Samantha Crawford, United States, 6-2, 7-6 (3)
Maria Sanchez, United States, def. Victoria Duval, United States (LL), 6-2, 6-2

Main Draw Doubles – 1st Round
Chieh-Yu Hsu and Shelby Rogers, United States, def. Jacqueline Cako and Natalie Pluskota, United States (4), 7-6, 7-6
Julia Cohen, United States, and Alla Kudryavtseva, Russia, def. Victoria Duval and Sachia Vickery, United States (WC), w/o

Friday’s February 8 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.
Lauren Davis vs. Alla Kudryavtseva, followed by Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Mallory Burdette, followed by Jessica Pegula vs. Monica Puig, followed by Melinda Czink/Mirjana Lucic-Baroni vs. Alexa Glatch/Asia Muhammed

Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.
Maria Sanchez vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, followed by Jill Craybas/CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Chieh-Yu Hsu/Shelby Rogers

Court 5 – starting not before 2:00 p.m.
Nicole Melichar/Chiara Scholl vs. Julia Cohen/Alla Kudryavtseva


BNP Paribas Open First Impression: Jessica Pegula

Magdalena Rybarikova (l) and Jessica Pegula

By Curt Janka

INDIAN WELLS, California (March 8, 2012) – One of the benefits of getting to the BNP Paribas Open for the early rounds is that you have opportunities to see new players. Today I had the chance to watch Jessica Pegula play. Ranked No. 305 and just 18- years-old, the American qualifier was certainly the underdog going into the first round match against Magdalena Rybarikova. That didn’t stop Pegula from coming out swinging. In fact, she won the first three games of the match and didn’t look at all nervous.

It’s not uncommon for a young player to catch a veteran by surprise early in a match. I was curious to see how Pegula would respond when Rybarikova recovered and leveled the match. To Pegula’s credit, she responded by painting the lines and methodically moving her opponent from side to side. Pegula went on to win the first set 7-5, but it took 8 set points to get there. Nerves may have prolonged the set, but Pegula showed determination to close it out.

Pegula was outplaying someone ranked more than 200 spots above her, but what happened at the beginning of the second set best illustrates the difference between the two. Pegula took her foot off the gas momentarily and Rybarikova immediately went up a break, showing the calm reserve of a player who has been on tour for seven years. Pegula made the young mistake of letting up just a bit.

The third set started out more even, but Pegula’s composure was definitely starting to waver. She fought hard, but made some impatient mistakes in the end that let the more senior opponent seal the win 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.

The Positives

Pegula has a great forehand with pace, depth and surprising precision. She continually painted the lines, whether it was up the line or inside out. She also has some decent pop on her flat serve, cracking 112 mph at times. Not bad for an 18 year old under 5’10”.  Her backhand isn’t as powerful, but it was steady and she won a lot of points hitting it straight up the line.

Room for Improvement

Pegula can put volleys away when she approaches on her own accord, but struggled moving forward for her opponents short balls—a vulnerability Rybarikova capitalized on often. Pegula is fit, so there’s no reason her movement can’t be improved. The biggest difference between her and her opponent was maturity.

Pegula has terrific fundamentals. If she toughens up the mental side of her game, she has the tools to climb into the top 100 easily. This was a match she very much could have won. It will be interesting to see if she’s able to grow from the experience and maximize her potential.

Curt Janka is covering the BNP Paribas Open this week for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.


Three Americans Into Semifinals at Carson USTA Women’s $50,000 Challenger

Jessica Pegula (Photo courtesy of the USTA)

By Steve Pratt

CARSON, Calif., (Friday, May 27, 2011) – It’s been quite a last couple of months for 17-year-old American tennis player Jessica Pegula.

On Feb. 22, her father Terry purchased the Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey team and soon after Pegula began working with Maria Sharapova’s former coach Michael Joyce. That pairing has helped Pegula crack the Top 400 of the WTA world rankings and has led to two consecutive quarterfinal appearances in USTA $50,000 Pro Circuit events, including this week’s Carson USTA Women’s Challenger presented by the Farmers Classic.

Although she fell to top-seeded Italian Camila Giorgi of Friday, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, Pegula said she took a lot away from her experiences this week. “I think I’m really improving and I’m right there,” said Pegula, who lost in the quarterfinals to Irina Falconi in a third-set tiebreaker at Indian Harbour three weeks ago. “I fought through some tough matches the first few rounds and that was really good for me.”I think if I would have just come forward a little bit more on a couple of points like (Giorgi) did and just got my serves in a couple of more times then I might be here talking about how I won the match instead of how I lost it. But things do always go your way.”

Also on Friday at Carson, 15-year-old qualifier Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., beat former UCLA All-American Yasmin Schnack, 6-4, 6-4, to move on to the semifinals. On Saturday Townsend will face No. 2 seeded Alexa Glatch, who beat No. 8 seeded Chichi Scholl, 6-1, 6-1, in her quarterfinal.

The No. 2-seeded Glatch, 21, was a finalist here in 2008 losing to Mashona Washington in the final. She wants nothing more than to beat Townsend on Saturday in the semis and to get back to the final.

“This has been a great week to be out here and to get some points,” said Glatch, of Newport Beach. “We’ve had some great play by the younger USTA girls this week. I feel like a veteran out here and I’m only 21. I do feel old.”

Pegula said working with Joyce has made a ton of difference in her game the last few weeks. “I’ve improved so much since I’ve been with him,” said Pegula, who is 5-feet, 7 inches tall. “I don’t know what it is. It might be the drills. I don’t get bored with them and I’m the kind of person who gets bored easily. He doesn’t let me get bored and he makes it fun. I think also because I play so much like Maria (Sharapova). I’m a big hitter like her so it’s easier for him to be successful with me because we have such similar games. I wish I was 6-foot-2 like Maria when I’m serviing. We seem to click well which is good.”

Pegula’s father Terry is described online as a “Pennsylvania natural gas billionaire.” The Buffalo native said her father’s purchasing the Sabres in February has been a great thing for her hockey-loving family.

“I was a Pittsburgh Penguins fans first but I’ve always rooted for the Sabres,” said Pegula, adding that her mom’s parents are from Montreal and root for the Canadiens. “At one point I said, ‘Dad, why can’t you just buy the Penguins,’ but I don’t think he could ever bring himself to do that. He loves the Sabres too much and has been a huge fan for so long and doesn’t like any other teams.”

Pegula said she will likely choose to go the pro route soon instead of attending college. “I haven’t turned pro yet but I’m pretty sure I’m going to,” she said. “Given my family situation it’s not like I need the tennis scholarship like some of the girls do which is nice because I’m so lucky to have that. My parents are like, ‘yes, go for it.’ ”

She said she plans to work with Joyce in Southern California for another week and then head back to Boca to rest for a couple of weeks before another USTA $50,000 event in Boston. She hopes to get a wild card into the U.S. Open qualifying and wants to play the junior USTA National Hardcourts in August. The winner of that San Diego event receives an automatic wild card into the main draw of the U.S. Open.

For more information on the tournament log onto the website at www.usta.com/carsonchallenger.


Friday’s Quarterfinal Singles

WC: Wild card; Q: Qualifier

Taylor Townsend, U.S. [q], def. Yasmin Schnack U.S., 6-4, 6-4

Alexa Glatch, U.S. [2], def. Chichi Scholl, U.S. [8], 6-1, 6-1

Camila Giorgi, Italy, [1], def. Jessica Pegula, U.S., 5-7, 6-4, 6-4

Ashley Weinhold, U.S. [3], def. Teodora Mircic, Serbia [6], 7-6 (3), 6-2


Friday’s Semifinal Doubles

WD Alexandra Mueller, U.S., / Asia Muhammad. U.S. [4] def. Alexa Glatch, U.S. / Marie-Eve Pelletier, Canada [1], 7-6 (6), 2-6, 10-6 (super tiebreak)

Christina Fusano, U.S. [2] / Yasmin Schnack U.S., def. Macall Harkins, U.S. [3] / Teodora Mircic, Serbia, 7-5. 6-4


Saturday’s Schedule

WS: Women’s Singles; WD: Women’s Doubles

Court 4 starting at 10 a.m.

WS semis Alexa Glatch U.S. [2] vs. Taylor Townsend, U.S. [q]

Followed by WS semis Camila Giorgi, Italy, [1] vs. Ashley Weinhold, U.S. [3]

Followed by WD final Alexandra Mueller, U.S. [4] / Asia Muhammad, U.S. vs. Christina Fusano, U.S. [2] / Yasmin Schnack U.S.




Player News Highlights from the USTA Pro Circuit


Ryan Harrison won both the singles and doubles titles at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 Challenger in Honolulu on January 30, his first career singles Challenger-level title; Harrison is the first player of 2011 to win both the singles and doubles titles at a USTA Pro Circuit event—only four men completed the feat last year. Harrison competed in doubles with Andy Roddick at the ATP World Tour event in Memphis, Tenn., last week, advancing to the second round.


Three-time USTA Pro Circuit singles champion Ryan Sweeting has reached his first career ATP World Tour singles quarterfinal this week in Delray Beach, Fla., upsetting world No. 22 Sam Querrey in the second round (he faces Japan’s Kei Nishikori today). Nishikori won four USTA Pro Circuit events last season, which helped him re-enter the Top 100 after an elbow injury sidelined him for much of 2009.


Former NCAA No. 1 Irina Falconi had the best USTA Pro Circuit result of her career after advancing to the final of the $100,000 event in Midland, Mich.—the only $100,000 event on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar—on February 13; Falconi lost to Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-4, in the final, but with the result, she is currently ranked a career-high No. 135; Falconi had previously never reached a final above the $25,000 level on the USTA Pro Circuit.


16-year-old Jessica Pegula, of Boca Raton, Fla., qualified for and reached the final of the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 event in Lutz, Fla., on January 23—the first career final for the young American.


Former world No. 77 Wayne Odesnik defeated qualifier Nicola Ghedin, 6-2, 6-1, in the singles final of the USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 Futures in Palm Coast, Fla., on February 6; this was Odesnik’s first title since returning to competition following a year-long suspension as dictated by the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, which is administered by the International Tennis Federation; meanwhile, 2010 US Open boys’ champion Jack Sock captured the doubles title with Dimitar Kutrovsky, defeating fellow Americans Gregory Ouellette and 2010 US Open National Playoffs champion Blake Strode.


There has been an American player in the singles final for seven of the first 11 USTA Pro Circuit events of the season; there has also been an American player in the doubles final for seven of the 11 doubles events.


Courtesy of the USTA.