WATCH: Ons Jabeur defeats Jessica Pegula in the 2022 WTA Finals Round Robin

Jessica Pegula vs. Aryna Sabalenka

It hasn’t been quite the WTA Finals debut that Pegula was looking for, especially on home soil. So far she has played four matches in Fort Worth—two singles and two doubles, with Coco Gauff—and she has lost them all. None have been blowouts, but none have been victories, either. To add insult to injury, Pegula says she has discovered that it stings a lot more to have to lose a bunch of times and stick around a venue than it does to move on to the next one.

Yet Pegula still has a glimmer of a chance to make the semifinals out of the Nancy Richey Group. One of the two spots has already been claimed by Maria Sakkari, who won both of her matches in straight sets. On Friday, Pegula, Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur will all be vying for the second spot. For Pegula, that means she must beat Sabalenka, and Sakkari must beat Jabeur in straight sets.

None of that is going to come easily. The last three times Sabalenka and Pegula have played, Sabalenka has won easily—Pegula reached 6-4 in a set just once. But again, there is a faint reason for hope for the American: She won their only meeting on hard courts two years ago in Cincinnati. This match will also be on a hard court, and a slow one at that. Theoretically, that might help Pegula, who is the steadier and less powerful of the two.

Sabalenka isn’t in the semifinal driver’s seat, either, but her road is a little easier. If she can win in two sets, and Sakkari wins a set against Jabeur in the second match, Sabalenka will advance. So far in Fort Worth, Sabalenka has lived up to her reputation for erratic play. She gutted out a three-set win over Jabeur to start, before going down in two tame sets to Sakkari. Sabalenka will be motivated by a chance at the semis, but will Pegula be even more motivated not to go 0-3 for the week? Winner: Pegula


There’s a potential upside for Jabeur: She’ll be facing Maria Sakkari (pictured), who has already qualified for the semis.

There’s a potential upside for Jabeur: She’ll be facing Maria Sakkari (pictured), who has already qualified for the semis.

Ons Jabeur vs. Maria Sakkari

There’s an advantage to playing second on the final day of a round-robin: You know exactly what you have to do to advance. That will be the case for Jabeur on Friday. As Alex Macpherson over at explains:

“If Sabalenka has beaten Pegula in straight sets, Jabeur will also need to win in straight sets.

If Sabalenka has beaten Pegula in three sets, Jabeur just needs a win.

If Pegula has beaten Sabalenka, Jabeur will only need to win one set to guarantee advancement.”

There’s a second potential upside for the Tunisian: She’ll be facing Sakkari, who has already qualified for the semis. Sakkari says she’ll go all out, and she likely wants to be the top player coming out of this group; she also may swing more freely, knowing she has little to lose. But will she be able to match Jabeur’s level of motivation, especially if the match goes to a third set?

Sakkari and Jabeur have played three times. Jabeur has won twice on clay, Sakkari once on hard courts. In their most recent meeting, in Rome this spring, Jabeur lost the first set 6-1 before coming back to win. Neither player is likely to forget that on Friday. Winner: Jabeur