Jessica Pegula continued her impressive 2022 with a 7-6(3), 6-1 win over Victoria Azarenka to reach the Guadalajara Open final.
Pegula reached 40 wins in the calendar year with the semi-final victory, with only Iga Swiatek (62) and Ons Jabeur (46) having more victories on the WTA circuit this season.
Pegula joins nine other Americans – Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys, Meghann Shaughnessy and Chanda Rubin – to reach the 40-win mark in a single campaign.
She will be looking for number 41 in the final, but she must wait to find out her opponent.
Maria Sakkari and Marie Bouzkova were locked in a tight semi-final of their own on Saturday evening when heavy rains forced the remainder of the match to be postponed, with the Greek leading 7-5 0-0.
With a 1-3 record against both Sakkari and Bouzkova, Pegula will be looking to turn over a new leaf in the final.
Pegula was delighted with the victory. Speaking after the match, she said: “I think it’s just capping off the end to a couple of amazing years, really. I’m just super happy to be through to a final.”
She continued: “Vika [Azarenka] is always tough no matter what, especially on hard courts, especially in faster conditions. I’ve lost to her the last couple of times, I knew it was going to be tough.
“I’m just glad, in a semifinal as well, that I was able to hold on to that first set. I thought it was really important to not let her get any momentum or more confidence by winning an easy first set, so I’m definitely really happy with how I handled that situation.
“[Being] able to take that first set and start off strong in the second against someone as experienced as her is always going to give me a lot of confidence.”
The American has faced an impressive run of opponents en route to the final. All of Elena Rybakina, Bianca Andreescu, Sloane Stephens and Azarenka are Grand Slam champions, and Pegula beat the lot of them.
It is the second time this year that Pegula has reached the final of a WTA event but she will be hoping that she can do one better in Guadalajara after falling at the final hurdle in Madrid earlier this year to Ons Jabeur.