Surely watching the game after her own victory that night in Indian Wells, Kim and Terry’s daughter Jessie tweeted, “Both getting the dub tonight.”
Two days later, it was another dub for Pegula, and it’s worth considering if we’re witnessing the start of Jessie’s own leap. The 27-year-old from Buffalo entered the prestigious BNP Paribas Open with a 36-18 record on the year and a ranking just one spot off her career-high (which she set in September). Pegula hasn’t won a title this season, but has been building toward a momentous result since the start of the year, when she reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open. Since then, Pegula has been a consistent threat around the world and on different surfaces: semifinals of the loaded Qatar Total Open in Doha; a quarterfinal at the Dubai WTA 1000; round-of-16 showings in Miami and Madrid; quarterfinal in Rome; third round of Roland Garros; semis in Montreal; third round at the US Open. It seems like only a matter of time before something even bigger happens.
Could that something happen, like her Bills, at one the most significant “regular-season” tournaments in her sport?
It’s impossible to discount considering Pegula’s play in the California desert. She began her tournament last Friday with a 6-2, 6-3 dismissal of Sloane Stephens, and after her aforementioned straight-set win over Jasmine Paolini, Pegula put forth her most complete and convincing showing, a 6-1, 6-1 rout of No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina.
“I just thought I played really smart; I stuck to my game plan from what I remembered when I played her last time,” Pegula told Tennis Channel afterward. “I just played every point super tough, which I think you have to do against her.”