Big Weekend For the Pegula Family As Jessica Advances At Australian Open And Bills Face Bengals In NFL Playoffs

Big Weekend For the Pegula Family As Jessica Advances At Australian Open And Bills Face Bengals In NFL Playoffs


Jessica Pegula has reached the quarterfinals of three of the four Grand Slams, but the American has never reached a semifinal.

No. 3 seed Pegula will be looking to change that after advancing to her third straight Australian Open quarterfinal with a convincing 7-5, 6-2 victory over No. 20 Barbora Krejcikova.

With top seed and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek getting upset by No. 22 Elena Rybakina, the reigning Wimbledon champion, Pegula remains the highest-seeded player in the women’s draw. No. 2 Ons Jabeur was upset in the second round.

Pegula will next face two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, who finally ended Zhu Lin’s run with a three-set win. Pegula has split her four meetings with Azarenka.

“It feels like there’s still a long ways to go, to be honest,” Pegula said. “I look at the draw, you have Rybakina who won Wimbledon last year, you have Vika [Azarenka] who does really well here, Caroline [Garcia] won the [Year-End] championships.

“It doesn’t really feel like I’m the highest left, even though I guess that’s a cool stat.”

It could be a huge weekend for the Pegula family.

Her parents, Terry and Kim Pegula, own the Buffalo Bills, who were set to meet the Cincinnati Bengals in an AFC playoff game on Sunday afternoon. The No. 2 seed Bills, who lost four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s, are among the favorites to win their first this season. Jessica said she watched the Bills’ win over the Miami Dolphins in the wild-card round on TV before playing her first match in Melbourne.

On court, Pegula is wearing a white screen-printed patch with Damar Hamlin’s No. 3 on her black skirt.

Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the field when he collapsed after making a tackle during a game between the Bills and the Bengals on Jan. 2. He spent more than a week in the hospital, part of that time in critical condition, before being able to go home.

“I definitely wanted to do something,” Pegula said earlier in the tournament.

“We were kind of figuring out what the Bills and the Sabres were doing, just as far as what was the message. I knew they would probably do something and what message were they trying to send. It ended up being kind of the ‘3′ was the symbol,” said Pegula, a 28-year-old who was born in New York and now is based in Florida.

“I just thought it would be cool to put on my outfit here. I thought it would be a fun way to kind of connect with the team and then also just show my support,” she said. “I felt like it was such a global event.”

As for Swiatek, she lost in the fourth round as did Coco Gauff, the No. 7 seeded American who lost to former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, 7-5, 6-3.

With Swiatek losing, it marks the first time at a Major in the Open Era that both the top two women’s and men’s seeds are out before the quarterfinals. No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Casper Ruud were both upset earlier in the tournament.

“I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments, and I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard,” Swiatek said. “So I’m going to try to chill out a little bit more. I felt the pressure, and I felt that ‘I don’t want to lose’ instead of ‘I want to win.’”



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