- Jessica Pegula is the favorite vs Sloane Stephens in their Guadalajara Open quarterfinal Oct. 21
- Pegula is ranked No. 5 and leads the head-to-head 2-0; Stephens is ranked No. 50
- Scroll down for analysis and betting predictions
Jessica Pegula was expected to be in the quarterfinals of the Guadalajara Open. Sloane Stephens is a surprise but since she’s capable of the best or the worst at any time, it can never be a total shock when she has a good week. Read on for a Pegula vs Stephens preview.
Pegula vs Stephens Odds
| Jessica Pegula (USA)||-2.5 (-132)||-205||O 21.5 (-140)|
|Sloane Stephens (USA)||+2.5 (+100)||+154||U 21.5 (-115)|
Pegula barely got through a very tough opening match against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who should be a top-five player in the rankings.
She’s not, because those 2,000 points she should have tallied for winning Wimbledon were not awarded this year. So every tournament since then, she’s basically been a dangerous floater.
A Third-Set Tiebreak for Pegula
The 28-year-old American later said that the ball on match point, at 9-8 in the third-set tiebreak vs. Rybakina, was so close that had it been a practice match, she would have given it to her opponent.
But since it was the real thing, and she had challenges left, she figured she’d just use one.
And the ball was out. And that’s how she won it, saving three match points in the process.
Rybakina was +10 on the aces/double faults ratio (14 aces, four doubles), while Pegula was minus-5. They both won 94 points.
But Pegula won the last one.
And then on Thursday, she took care of a slightly sub-par Bianca Andreescu to reach her eighth quarterfinal at a Grand Slam or WTA 1000 tournament. It’s the most of any player this season.
Pegula vs Stephens Head-to-Head
|28 (Feb. 23, 1994)||Age||29 (March 19, 1993)|
|Buffalo, NY||Birthplace||Plantation, FL|
|1||Career WTA Singles Titles||7|
|No. 5 (Sept. 11, 2022)||Career-Best Ranking||No. 3 (July 15, 2018)|
|No. 5||Current Ranking||No. 50|
|$5,858,981||Career Prize Money||$17,166,320|
|39-18||2022 Won/Loss Record||18-16|
Some Vintage Stephens in Guadalajara
Stephens, whose husband Jozy Altidore played soccer in Mexico this year, clearly likes the place.
Eight of her 18 Tour wins this season (which is not many – she came into Guadalajara with a sub-.500 won-loss record) have come in Mexico. That includes her title at the WTA 250 on the same site in Guadalajara earlier this season.
Stephens dismantled teenager Linda Fruhvirtova in the first round, ceding just two games. Then she upset No. 10 seed Belinda Bencic in straight sets.
And on Thursday in the third round, she dismissed No. 6 seed, Caroline Garcia, in two tight sets.
Sloane Stephens loves Guadalajara. ❤️ She comes from 0-5 down in the first-set breaker to take out #6 seed Caroline Garcia 7-6(6), 7-5. It's her first Top 🔟 win in almost a year and a half. 👏🏼
Up next: Pegula pic.twitter.com/NCxOKhjY9F
— Chad (@CCSMOOTH13) October 20, 2022
To put that in context, Garcia had just learned Friday that she would indeed qualify for the WTA Finals. And so with that job done – and the nerves about this were evident in the squeaker she won in the second round against Rebecca Marino – she may well have taken her foot off the gas a bit.
Pegula vs Stephens Match History
|2022||Miami Open (R64)||Outdoor Hard||6-1, 6-4||Pegula|
|2021||Indian Wells (R64)||Outdoor Hard||6-2, 6-3||Pegula|
Stephens’s problem, though, is that she has basically no success against Pegula in her career.
She’s only a year older, but Stephens bloomed a lot earlier. But not having played Pegula until last fall’s Indian Wells tournament, she’s come up against her when Pegula has been playing the best tennis of her career and Stephens … well, not so much.
Jessica Pegula becomes the 3rd qualifier for the #WTAFinals in Fort Worth.
On the tour's biggest stages, the top-ranked American delivered:
– Reached QF or better 4x at WTA 1000s, tied for most on tour w/ Swiatek.
– Won 31 matches at WTA 1000s + Slams, 2nd only to Swiatek. pic.twitter.com/KVELtYNice
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 13, 2022
Surprisingly, considering Stephens has been as high as No. 3 and is a Grand Slam champion, she and Pegula came into Guadalajara with the exact same number of career wins: 341. But Pegula has some 30 fewer losses.
Pegula vs Stephens Pick
At this point. Pegula is absolute money on the effort side. She so rarely beats herself these days that she will stay in rallies long enough for Stephens to flinch first.
Stephens’s good run this week gives her some positive vibes to end her season. But it’s unlikely that that will be enough to get past Pegula – who might not have the straight-up talent that Stephens has, but who maximizes everything she has in a way that Stephens rarely has.
If Pegula can get to the final, she’d be the No. 3 player in the world.
Best Bet: Pegula in Two Sets (+140)