There is an age-old saying; “Better late than never!” If there was a current player in tennis that epitomized this it would have to be Jessica Pegula. She is at a career-high World No. 3 ranking after she won the recent WTA 1000 event in Montreal.
At 29, Pegula is playing the best tennis of her career. She has only won 3 career titles but two of those were of the 1000 variety.
She has the ability to take down strong fields when her game is firing. However, her consistency from week to week was lacking until recent years. She will never shy away from taking risks as her power game can overwhelm the best of players on her day.
At the highest level, she has reached the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams. She is the fifth American to accomplish this feat in the last 25 years.
Jessica Pegula could be ready to win the US Open
As she shifts her focus to the 2023 US Open, this could be her best opportunity to break past that stage. As the No. 3 seed, she should have a comfortable early going.
She could face a stern challenge in No. 26 Elina Svitolina in the 3rd round which will test Pegula’s championship merits. If she can get past that test, she could ride the wave of a rabid New York crowd that is hungry for an American champion.
Her doubles success with Coco Gauff has helped Jessica develop a more than adequate net game. This has unlocked a whole different dimension to her singles approach. Before she would smoke a power forehand and stay back.
These days she is much more comfortable following in her big groundstrokes and keeping the pressure on her opponents. This new confidence going forward has helped her lift her game and could prove quite useful in New York.
She has a similar playing style to Jannik Sinner in that they both hit massive and flat. The courts in Flushing Meadows will aid in this style as the ball will explode through the court giving extra velocity from the ground.
Ultimately, Jessica Pegula has to prove she can beat the best in the game at a Grand Slam. She has to be able to string back-to-back high-end performances together.
In the same breath, she has never entered a Grand Slam with more confidence or in such good form. If she can capitalize on this and get past the early Svitolina challenge, Jessica Pegula could be ready to fire up the best two weeks of her career.
A late bloomer Pegula has put the tennis world on notice. It doesn’t matter when a flower blooms, just that it does. If Jessica Pegula can stun us all and win the US Open, she could be the first to tell us all……better late than never.