- Unseeded Victoria Azarenka takes on No. 3 seed Jessica Pegula in the Guadalajara Open semifinals
- Pegula is the favorite; the match will take place Saturday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. ET
- Scroll down as we break down the matchup and make some predictions
One day after Victoria Azarenka upset No. 5 seed Coco Gauff to reach the Guadalajara singles semifinals, she’ll take on Gauff’s countrywoman and doubles partner, Jessica Pegula, in the semifinals.
Azarenka vs Pegula Odds
|Victoria Azarenka (BLR)||+2.5 (-105)||+145||O 21.5 (-115)|
| Jessica Pegula (USA)||-2.5 (-135)||-185||U 21.5 (-120)|
But this will be a completely different matchup for the 33-year-old Belarussian.
If she was able to be by far the calmer of the two competitors against Gauff, who is still just 18 and played much of the match in a slight state of panic, that will not be true of Pegula.
Most Consistent on the WTA Tour
The 28-year-old American, who has qualified into the WTA Finals in both singles and doubles (with Gauff) has quite simply been the most consistent player in all of women’s tennis at the top WTA level.
She has shown that this week with a clutch opener over Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, where she saved match points.
If you told me 5 years ago when I couldn’t string 2 matches together that I would have this stat… 🤯 you can always improve, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise https://t.co/W6gfFWGmNC
— Jessie Pegula (@JLPegula) October 22, 2022
Her win over Bianca Andreescu was a masterclass in steadiness against a player who threw the kitchen sink at her. Some of it worked, but Pegula never let any of it work for long enough.
And on Friday in the quarterfinals, she stood firm and, once again, straight-setted countrywoman Sloane Stephens to reach the final four.
Stephens is arguably the more mercurial talent. Pegula is the one who dominates that matchup. Every time.
Azarenka vs Pegula Head-to-Head
|33 (July 30, 1989)||Age||28 (Feb. 23, 1994)|
|Minsk, Belarus||Birthplace||Buffalo, NY|
|21||Career WTA Singles Titles||1|
|No. 1 (Jan. 29, 2012)||Career-Best Ranking||No. 5 (Sept. 11, 2022)|
|No. 37||Current Ranking||No. 5|
|$34,771,763||Career Prize Money||$5,858,981|
|24-12||2022 Won/Loss Record||40-18|
Azarenka Full of Praise for Gauff
After her 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3 victory over Gauff, who is 15 years her junior, Azarenka praised Gauff as a player who would win many Grand Slam titles. And she said she would enjoy watching her career soar.
All she needed, Azarenka said, was to believe in herself a little more.
That might be part of it. But Azarenka built a terrific tactical match against Gauff. Typically, players will pound the young American’s forehand, which has a tendancy to break down and has some technical issues.
Azarenka didn’t do that. At least not at first. She predominantly went for Gauff’s backhand. And when she did start to target the forehand, Gauff didn’t have any rhythm on that side and made even more errors.
She accepted Gauff’s blazing speed and expected it, as her younger rival fought, but got increasingly agitated.
Again, Saturday’s matchup against Pegula will be a completely different animal.
Azarenka vs Pegula Match History
|2021||Indian Wells (QF)||Outdoor Hard||6-4, 6-2||Azarenka|
|2021||Berlin (QF)||Grass||6-2, 5-7, 6-4||Azarenka|
|2021||Australian Open (R128)||Outdoor Hard||7-5, 6-4||Pegula|
Pegula doesn’t serve as hard as Gauff. She’s not nearly as fast as Gauff. But she’s like a wall it’s hard to punch holes through. And Azarenka’s game, in its prime, was not dissimilar.
Azarenka vs Pegula Pick
The fascinating (and unpredictable) part of breaking down this matchup is that Azarenka defeated Pegula twice during the spring and fall of last year, when the American was playing great tennis and Azarenka wasn’t, particularly.
And yet, Pegula (who had yet to mount her charge to the top of the game), was unseeded and ranked No. 61 when she defeated Azarenka in the first round of the 2021 Australian Open.
The Belarussian, who has won that tournament twice, was the No. 12 seed.
By Indian Wells, those roles were reversed.
What Azarenka does, Pegula also does (except more … quietly).
Azarenka goes home after this tournament; Pegula has singles and doubles at the WTA Finals, and then Billie Jean King Cup.
Currently at a career best No. 5 she would, if she wins, would get to No. 3 in the world in the WTA rankings.
Pegula hasn’t come this far to lose. But expect this one to be more like their battle on grass in Berlin in the summer of 2021.
Best Bet: Over 2.5 Sets (+140)