Until now Jessica Pegula of Buffalo, NY has been best known for being the daughter of Buffalo Bills’ and Buffalo Sabres’ owners Kim and Terry Pegula. In the first round of the 2021 Australian Open it was Jessica Pegula who made sports headlines, by delivering the biggest win of her tennis career.
Pegula beat the 12th seed and two-time Australian Open Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-5, 6-4. There was no doubt that Pegula was the more consistent player in the match. Azarenka really struggled with her serve, as she had six double faults, compared to zero for Pegula. Azarenka missed out on a chance of generating momentum from her success on hard courts in 2020. She reached the final of the 2020 United States Open before losing to Naomi Osaka of Japan, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Pegula will now have another grand slam champion opponent, in 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia, in round two.
Pegula was one of 11 American women to win their opening round match. She was joined by the fourth seed and defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, FL, 10th seed Serena Williams of Saginaw, MI, 22nd-ranked Jennifer Brady of Harrisburg, PA, Shelby Rogers of Mount Pleasant, SC, Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, FL, Madison Brengle of Dover, DE, Coco Gauff of Delray Beach, FL, Venus Williams of Saginaw, MI, Bernarda Pera of New Jersey, and Ann Li of King of Prussia, PA. Just like Pegula, Pera defeated a grand slam champion in Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-0, 6-4.
On the men’s side, seven American men got to the second round. They are 27th-ranked Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe, CA, Frances Tiafoe of Hyattsville, MD, Reilly Opelka of St. Joseph, MI, Maxime Cressy of Hermosa Beach, CA, Tommy Paul of Voorhees Township, NJ, Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont, CA, and Michael Mmoh of Bradenton, FL.