Pegula survives thriller to win in Berlin

IT was a rocky match for world number five Jessica Pegula, but the American survived to pull through against 24th ranked Russian Anna Kalinskaya and secure her first WTA Tour title of the year. Pegula came back from a set down and five championship points down to win in three sets, 6-7 6-4 7-6 in the Berlin Ladies Open.

The victory marked Pegula’s fist since her title in Seoul last year, and while inconsistent form had marred her 2024 campaign, the American found her fighting spirit in Germany. She had to overcome fellow top five talent Coco Gauff in the semi-final earlier that day 7-5 7-6, as Kalinskaya had extra time to rest.

After a nail-biting first set, the Russian cruised to an early lead with a perfect 7-0 tiebreaker to close out the opening set. She had her chances in the second as well, but a crucial break to the higher ranked opponent proved the difference in securing the second set 6-4.

However the job was not done. Kalinskaya raced away to a 4-1 lead in the deciding set, only for the American to break back and level the scores at 4-4. Incredibly the Russian came again to have to bat away three break points off the American’s racquet via her own serve to hold in the ninth game, before having four championship points in the 10th game.

Unable to break Pegula in the game that mattered the most, Kalinskaya was forced into a deeper deciding set, and then despite Kalinskaya having a fifth championship point in the 12th game, the fifth ranked Pegula held on to send it to a tiebreaker. From there, she got on top to claim the tiebreaker 7-3 and win the match in two hours and 38 minutes, 6-7 6-4 7-6.

“I knew I could play well on this surface and giving myself a couple of extra weeks on grass clearly paid off,” Pegula said post-match. “I played some really good tennis this week and I feel like I beat some really good girls, especially on grass. To be able to gut out a win like that is cool.”

Yulia Putintseva celebrates the Birmingham title. Image credit: Getty Images


Kazkah talent Yulia Putintseva won the first grasscourt tile of her career having to come from behind in the second set to win against Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic in the Rothesay Classic final. It was Putintseva’s third WTA Tour title – the first two game on clay – and first since Budapest in 2021, winning in an hour and 28 minutes.

Putintseva won 6-1 7-6, fighting back from a break down at 3-5 in the second set to twin in a tight tiebreaker 10-8, saving two set points in the process. The Kazakh won 69 per cent of her first serve points and 74 per cent of her second point serves, while crushing Tomljanovic off her second serves with a 74 per cent success rate.

“I don’t know what I’m feeling because I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Putintseva said post-match. “It’s great and it’s confusing because I’ve always been good on clay, but now all of a sudden, I’m good on grass. I’ll take that! It’s great!

“It was a great game. I started so well, and then Ajla dialled up her level to the highest. She was playing really amazing, not giving me any time to think or to do something. The game was even in the end, and I was a bit more lucky.”

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