American Jessica Pegula has thrashed top-ranked female Iga Swiatek6-2, 6-2 in the first leg of Team USA’s semi-final tie with Poland at the United Cup.
Match point came from a rare unforced error from Swiatek as the world No.1 looked rattled, after an hour and 11 minutes.
“Perfect Pegula,” Sam Smith said on the Nine broadcast.
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“What a start for Team USA and the American No.1 dominates the best in the world.”
As Pegula brought up match point, Smith said Swiatek looked lost.
“She doesn’t really know what to do down there, Iga Swiatek. She has been completely outplayed by Pegula,” Smith said.
Swiatek was visibly upset following the straight-sets loss, concealing tears with a towel as she spoke with team captain Agnieska Radwanska courtside.
The 21-year-old was yet to drop a set in her United Cup campaign before her encounter with Pegula.
Addressing the tears during her post-match presser, Swiatek said the situation felt uncontrollable.
“I just knew that I felt kind of helpless today because physically and mentally I wasn’t able to show up and problem solve,” she said.
“It’s always hard when you lose, especially when you’re playing for the country. I was just sad, but it’s not the first time I’ve cried after a lost match (so) nothing special.”
In her courtside interview, Pegula said she wanted to use her familiarity with the conditions to her advantage.
She and her Team USA teammates have been based in Sydney throughout the United Cup, whereas Swiatek and the rest of the Poland side had flown from Brisbane on Thursday.
“I have played her in a lot of different places but I definitely feel like these were the fastest conditions,” she said.
“I know they had a tough turn-around … flying here, and we have been lucky being here and maybe having a bit of an advantage being used to the courts.
“I wanted to use that as much as I could. I played aggressively, served smart and returned well.”
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