World No. 4 Jessica Pegula (USA) is looking to win in her motherland.
Pegula defeated 83rd-ranked Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 2-0 (6-4, 6-3) in one hour and 20 minutes in the semifinals of the Hana Bank Korea Open on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour at Olympic Park Tennis Courts in Songpa-gu, Seoul on Thursday.
The tournament’s top seed, Pegula, was born in Seoul and adopted by her mother, Kim Pegula, in the United States. Kim Pegula is an American entrepreneur whose businesses include natural gas, real estate, and sports and entertainment. She is reported to have a net worth of $5 billion (about 6.7 trillion won). Pegula herself has identified herself as “half Korean.”
Pegula’s final opponent, Yuan Yue, is making her first WTA Tour singles final. She came from behind to defeat 116th-ranked Emina Vektas (USA) 2-1 (6-7<3-7>, 6-4, 6-2) in the quarterfinals.
In her post-match interview, Pegula said, “I’m happy to be in the final. I’m having a really good week. My goal this week was, ‘Let’s give myself a chance to win this tournament,’ and I’m doing it. I’m happy to be playing well, especially in front of my fans who support me so much.”
“I was a little surprised at first, but I think I’ve gotten used to it,” Pegula said of the Korean fans’ enthusiastic support at every match. I haven’t really participated in the Asia Series, so I’m still not used to it. Especially, it’s my first time to participate in all the Asian Series like this season.”
“Before the pandemic, I wasn’t ranked as high as I am now, so I wasn’t able to participate in all the Asian Series, and then the pandemic happened, and then the tour was normalized again and I participated in all the Asian Series for the first time in my life. When I came to Korea, I didn’t expect this level of support. The support from the fans is amazing,” he smiled.
On her final opponent being Yuan Yue (CHN, 128th), whom she defeated 2-1 (6-2, 6-7<6-7>, 6-0) in the third round of the 2022 US Open, she said: “It was a tough match then, and I was sure that my opponent would improve with more confidence and experience. My opponent has gained experience through his good performance in this tournament and has enough confidence. He is young, good and talented. Tomorrow I want to use my experience to play a good match and hopefully it will be a great final. It’s going to be a tough match.”
When asked if he had any special words for the Korean fans during the final trophy ceremony, Pegula said, “I haven’t prepared anything yet, but I think I should,” adding, “I don’t know a lot of Korean, so I’ll have to learn some more for tomorrow, and I think the Korean fans will definitely like it. It’s a good homework assignment for tomorrow,” he laughed.스포츠토토
When asked about the many comments on YouTube that say she is “well-spoken,” “has depth in her words,” “calm,” and even “I can hear her voice every day” and “she should run for office,” she said, “People often say I’m very calm or cool, and I do get angry sometimes, but it takes me a long time to get angry. But I don’t think I’m going to enter politics. It’s a nice compliment and maybe I have the right voice for a commentator, so I could see a future in that,” he smiles.
“I always try to sign as many autographs as I can after the game, but the Korean fans really like it, so I try to sign as many as I can, especially here. It’s a small gesture, but I think it’s a good memory,” she emphasized.
On Friday, the doubles final between Marie Bozkova (Czech Republic)-Bethany Maticsands (USA) and Laksika Kamkham-Pheangtharn Plipuets (Thailand) will take place at 12:30pm, followed by the singles final between Pegula and Yuan Yue at 3pm.