Terry and Kim Pegula are done watching one of their own try to win a championship.
Three weeks after the Bills fell two wins short of a Super Bowl title, the Pegulas have another trophy hope. This time, it’s their daughter.
Jessica Pegula moved within three wins of a grand slam tennis title after she qualified for the Australian Open quarterfinals after upsetting 5th seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
It’s Pegula’s first trip to a grand slam quarter and her first win over a top-10 player.
After splitting the first two sets, Pegula broke Svitolina’s serve early in the third set to take a 4-1 lead. The Ukrainian rallied to win eight of the next nine points and closed within 4-3.
Pegula used a rocket backhand to take a 40-0 lead on Svitolina’s serve in the next game. To her credit, Svitolina charged back again to get even. A filthy Pegula drop shot gave her the advantage in deuce and she won the game on the next point.
With the match on her racket, Pegula did not waver in serving out the set.
She will face the winner of Donna Vekic and Jen Brady in the quarterfinals. Both players are seeded in the 20’s. Brady, along with Pegula, is one of four women who could make up half the quarterfinal field on the women’s side. Serena Williams has already joined Pegula in the round of eight. Shelby Rogers will have to get past top seeded Aussie Ashleigh Barty.
Pegula was immediately pulling for Brady after her match and giving her parents a shout out. She wrote on a camera lens, “Hi mom, hi dad! See you next round, Jen B.”
After the match, Pegula said being aggressive and chasing points to the net have been a focus for improving her game. She won 21 of 29 points at the net against Svitolina.
“In the second, I got pushed back waiting on the ball a little bit and I was starting to overhit. I definitely wanted to move forward, but also be smart about it,” Pegula said. “That’s been a long time coming trying to get myself to move forward. It fits my game and it’s how I have to play. If not, I get too tentative and I start making errors.”
The quarterfinals are scheduled for Monday night. You can bet her parents and a large swath of BillsMafia also can’t wait to see her play again.