Examining the WTA Finals competitors: Jessica Pegula, a recent winner, will go first.

The WTA singles ranking saw Jessica Pegula reach a new career high on October 24 when she was ranked third in the world. Her victory at the Guadalajara Open the day before, on Sunday, October 23, was the catalyst for her new high.

Or, to put it another way, Pegula’s success in the rankings was based on the wave of consistency she had shown not only during the week in Mexico but also throughout the previous two seasons. This achievement by Pegula can be understood in the following way: up to 2020, the 28-year-old player hardly advanced past the second rounds of the main events she competed in.

At that time, the 2020 US Open saw her achieve her greatest Major performance when she advanced to the third round. Pegula had exited all other Slams during the two-year period 2019–20 in the first round, with the exception of Wimbledon, which wasn’t hosted that year.

Pegula’s best performance in WTA 1000 competition occurred at the 2020 Cincinnati Open. She bypassed a few qualifying and first-round outings prior to that and reached the event’s quarterfinals for the first time in her career that year.

Up until 2020, Pegula has participated in just three finals, all of which were WTA International competitions. It’s interesting to note that, since reaching her first career final at the 2018 Quebec Open, the Buffalo-born athlete had advanced to one final per year.

Her maiden victory came at the Washington Open a year later. She then advanced to a third final in the Auckland Open that same year.

Making the most of opportunity, says Jessica Pegula

Later, in the post-pandemic era when tennis players were encouraged to start over, Pegula radically changed the course of her career.

Pegula made four quarterfinal appearances in the eight Grand Slams played in 2021–22, including two consecutive quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Prior to winning the 2022 Guadalajara Open and making it to the finals of the 2022 Madrid Open, Pegula also made it to the quarterfinals and semifinals of a number of WTA 1000 tournaments, including consecutive semifinal finishes in the 2021 and 2022 Canadian Opens.

The numbers alone are astonishing, even without considering these listings. Pegula’s victory in Guadalajara marked her first WTA 1000 championship. But by the end of the week, she had triumphed in 39 games overall in competitions identical to those in 2021 and 2022.

No other player has amassed so many victories. Not even Iga Swiatek, the player who now holds the title of most dominant woman in tennis and whose domination was highlighted by a 37-match winning run this year. Pegula has made a name for herself this year in the world of American tennis as well.

The top tournament in the WTA tournament hierarchy hasn’t had an American woman win at least 22 matches since Serena Williams. Pegula is fully aware of how far she has advanced in the sport.

Recently, she wrote, “If you told me (five) years ago when I couldn’t string (two) matches together that I would have this stat… you can always improve, don’t let anyone tell you differently,” following her semi-final appearance in Guadalajara. Pegula will be looking to complete the season on a high note with just the WTA Finals remaining before the tennis season concludes for 2022.

And she has the opportunity to accomplish so in both singles and doubles. Pegula’s performance in doubles has been somewhat superior to what she has accomplished in singles this year. Pegula reached her first Major doubles final at the French Open this year when she partnered up with Coco Gauff.

The Gauff-Pegula team did not succeed in winning the women’s doubles competition at Roland Garros, but they did win two WTA 1000 doubles titles—in Dubai and Canada—which eventually helped them qualify for the Finals. Jessica Pegula’s rise to prominence has therefore underlined the existence of a substantial depth in the women’s tour, both in the international circuit and inside the American ranks, in a year where Serena Williams‘ retirement from tennis came as the biggest news and Gauff expanded her career.

Additionally, it has changed the way she has been referred to on a personal basis. For once, Pegula’s parents are delighted to be recognized by their daughter’s fame rather than being referred to as the owners of the NFL franchise, the Buffalo Bills. Image courtesy of Jessica Pegula Twitter