M. Sakkari b.  J. Pegula 6-3 4-6 6-2
Of concrete, on concrete. Maria Sakkari shows a great version of her tennis during the semifinal match of the Citi Open against a Jessica Pegula who fights to the end to overturn the fate of a match perhaps written from the beginning. For 2h04′ of play and a final score of 6-3 4-6 6-2, the top Greek seed does not want to give up his place in the final: a result that responds well to the many defeats (even on US hard courts) of the last period. The curse of this year’s semifinals (six, all lost) has been interrupted, Sakkari is officially looking for a new title after Rabat 2019.
First set: Sakkari shapes a rubber game and Pegula struggles to keep up with her
Sakkari pockets the first point with a winning answer on the second of Pegula, who however does not hesitate to immediately field a ace and to secure batting. In the next game, Sakkari on serve puts the first double fault of the match in the racket, but ends up getting away with it thanks to a few too many mistakes by her opponent. The third game was not a little contested: after thirteen points played and three advantages cancelled, the Greek tennis player takes advantage of the first break and breaks Pegula’s serve. Sakkari seems to have found the square: two ace consecutive and innings held scoreless. The double Pegula, which thus leads to a single game of disadvantage. The partial continues with exchanges sustained by the suffocating rhythm: it goes on to “the first one to give way”. And it is more often Pegula, at least in aiming the lines. On 5-3 in his advantage, Sakkari tries to hit the net several times to try first to close the (few) points that divide it from the sixth game. The intuition is right, the forehand as well: comes the partial.
Second set: the American tries the improbable and answers on the last ring of the third set
The No. 9 in the world continues its march and holds the first serving turn of the partial. Between a double fault and balls on the net, the American also manages to keep hers, but the Sakkari of the ace he doesn’t let them breathe and immediately (re)takes the lead. Pegula begins to suffer the progress of the match – and a fate of the tape that is never on his side – and ends up staying in a short time under three games. Double fouls by the American alternate with atomic forehands from the opponent’s improbable response. Whether it’s forehand or backhand, at this point the Greek tennis player revs up the engine and makes her opponent understand that there’s still not much to try (in her opinion). Pegula tries anyway, gets two games out of it and – perhaps even more important – manages to break the opponent’s forehand game. Then, yet another: parity. On 40 all of 4-4, the advantage was taken for the first time during the Greek’s service: first a double fault, then a forehand on the corridor. It’s break for the American, who serves for the set. If he takes it.
Third set: back to the initial game, Sakkari stops Pegula and (finally) reaches the final
One all, ball in the centre. Sakkari awakenswho interrupts the streak of lost games (five) and finds the forehand of the first part of the match: after the innings held, the Greek tries to take advantage of the break to accumulate another game, but fails. Raise the level of the game and the haste to close the points on the part of both prevails over the desire to secure the field. One game down, Pegula on serve takes risks so as not to let her breath down her opponent’s neck. He fails, and Sakkari this time manages to take the break. At 5-2, the American serves to lengthen the game: at 30-15, a backhand winner opens up a double road for the Greek to win. It comes from the first. The final is his (and the winner between Gauff and Samsonova).