Pretty cool: Jessica Pegula wins in Berlin

Jessica Pegula
Rick Limpert

At the start of the event, Jessica Pegula wasn’t sure that she was ready to win an event. But in the weekend, she battled, each point, and finally she grabbed it, winning the tournament in Berlin. In the semis, she beat Coco Gauff 7-5, 7-6(2), and then in the final, she edged Anna Kalinskaya 6-7(0), 6-4, 7-6(3). That was her best year, and her forehand and her backhand was super consistent. The veteran has yet to win a Grand Slam, but when she is on her toes, she can play for a very long time. 

The 30-year-old is still trying to stay in the top five, and maybe if she can reach into the second week at Wimbledon, Pegula will have a decent chance to snare it.  

“I knew I could play well on this surface and giving myself a couple of extra weeks on grass clearly paid off,” she said. “I played some really good tennis this week and I feel like I beat some really good girls, especially on grass. To be able to gut out a win like that is cool.”

She was out for two months due to her rib injury, and when she same back two weeks ago, she was a little bit rusty. Yet when she is on the court, playing, she can read her game, and hopefully, hit it where she wants to. She may not be the most powerful hitters, but she can move side to side and put it back. Grass is important, though, and it can be very fast and low, so when you can have an opportunity, try to crush it.

 Last year at Wimpy, Pegula lost against Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 in the third set in the quarters. If they play each other at Wimbledon, that will be another super close match. Right now, though, the American is rising again.

“This is the most grass-court confidence that I’ve had probably going into Wimbledon. Hopefully that pays off as well,” Pegula said. “Being able to tough out a couple of matches and have a couple of long matches, especially for the body to get ready, and dealing with a lot of the rain delays too. That’s always possible at Wimbledon as well, so that was good prep mentally as well. I feel like I’ve been through a lot this week, so if I could handle this week I think at Wimbledon I should feel pretty good.”

She will, but there will be 10 people who have a chance to win it at Wimbledon. It can be  Vondrousova, who won it last year, or with the No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Gauff , Aryna Sabalenka, Elena  Rybakina , Danielle Collins, Madison Keys , and on and on.

 How about this, though, that Yulia Putintseva won Birmingham, over  Ajla Tomljanovic  6-1, 7-6(8). She is another person who finally likes the grass. “It’s great and it’s confusing because I’ve always been good on clay, but now all of a sudden, I’m good on grass,” the 29-year-old said.  “I’ll take that! It’s great!”

The American Tommy Paul won the title at Queen’s, beating Lorenzo Musetti 6-1, 7-6(8). In the first set, the Italian Musetti  was nervous, and he made lots of errors, but in the second set, the 22-year-old was more  consistent, but not enough. Paul found the lines, and he was steady, and he also bashed his  backhand. Believe it or not, he is now No. 12, ahead of all of the U.S. men.

“All the Americans are pretty close. We push each other with results, I would say. I mean, it’s definitely a healthy competition between us,” Paul said.

In Halle, the No. 1 Jannik Sinner outlasted over Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(8), 7-6(2). He has definitely been more than consistent, even when he isn’t playing terrific. However, he can try to be patient, and wait until he can jump on the ball. He has never won Wimbledon, but he could in a few weeks, and really understand on the tricky grass. “I’m very happy about this tournament because [winning for] the first time on grass court, it’s a good feeling,” Sinner said.