Jessica Pegula defeated Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-2 on Sunday to win the Citi Open, her first Women's Tennis Association Tour title, in Washington, D.C.
Pegula, the daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, entered the tournament unseeded and ranked No. 79 in the world. She saved the only break point she faced in the match, taking just 59 minutes to capture her first WTA championship.
"It's been extremely gratifying," Pegula said, in her post-match press conference. "I mean, this is what you work for, to win tournaments and to just win, basically."
"But, you know, the journey, it sounds cliche, the journey makes it all that much sweeter," added Pegula, who came back from hip surgery in 2017. "I've worked really hard. So to kind of push through this week and really push myself to the limit, stronger than I kind of almost thought I was at times, really makes it amazing, yeah. I'm excited!"
Giorgi battled back to 3-2 in the first set before the 25-year-old Pegula won the next three games. The second set was all Pegula, who jumped out to a 5-1 lead before Giorgi won a second game. Pegula closed out the match with a service winner and dropped to her knees in celebration.
Pegula’s parents were in Rochester at Bill training camp, where Kim paced the sidelines, but did not watch the match. Terry watched on his iPad.
“I watched the whole thing. It was a little comical to me, because she always tries to win a match with an ace, and she hit an ace,” Terry said. “As a parent, you say, how come you don’t do that all the time?”
“It was super great. You could tell it meant a lot to her,” Kim said. “She’s been in a lot of finals and hasn’t been able to break through. I think it was just this relief for her, that she was able to clinch one. She played her type of game that she wanted to play, commanding the points.”
Jessica Pegula, who was born in Buffalo, reached the final by rallying to defeat Iga Swiatek and she needed three sets to beat Anna Kalinskaya in the semifinals.