WATCH: Jessica Pegula sip BEER after losing US Open 2022 quarterfinal to Iga Swiatek
When one member of the media brought up her drinking beer, Jessica Pegula first responded with something many professional athletes can relate to: “I’m trying to pee for doping.”
Exuding ‘tough day at the office’ energy, Jessica Pegula brought a can of beer to her news conference after a quarterfinal loss at the US Open 2022 on Wednesday night. The No. 8-seeed Pegula, a 28-year-old American who is the country’s highest-ranked tennis player, took some swigs of her Heineken between answers to questions from reporters.
When one member of the media brought it up, Pegula first responded with something many professional athletes can relate to: “I’m trying to pee for doping.” Then, voicing a thought many adults might understand, she added: “Although it does help ease the loss.”
Pegula was beaten 6-3, 7-6 (4) in Arthur Ashe Stadium by No. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek. The setback dropped Pegula’s record in Grand Slam quarterfinals to 0-4, with three of those losses this season.
“I’m a little deflated right now,” Pegula said. “I’m not real happy.” Her parents own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
Swiatek dropped four points in a row in her U.S. Open quarterfinal against Jessica Pegula by missing shots, some wildly. So with Pegula up by a break at 3-2 and serving at 30-love, Swiatek walked over to the sideline in the middle of a game to swap out her white racket for another one.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium roof was open, the 70-degree air was as cool and dry as it's been during a hot, humid tournament, and Swiatek figured maybe she should try a tighter string tension to see whether that would help control the ball a little more. Whether that actually did the trick, or simply put Swiatek’s mind at ease, the move certainly swung the direction of the match. The No. 1-ranked Swiatek grabbed 14 of the next 15 points and, while closing things out was not easy, she reached her first semifinal at Flushing Meadows by pulling out a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over Pegula on Wednesday night.
“I don’t know if it actually was the key or something,” Swiatek said after a match filled with a combined 13 breaks of serve, 10 in the second set alone. “For sure, I wasn’t thinking about the strings (anymore), and I just focused on the right stuff after the change.”
When play resumed, Swiatek popped up a short return that floated toward Pegula, who rushed a backhand swinging volley that landed out. That was followed by three forehand errors in a row by the No. 8 Pegula, the highest-ranked American player.
“I started missing everything for literally the rest of the set,” Pegula said between sips from a can of Heineken. “It was definitely a huge momentum change. I think it helped her a lot. So it was a good move by her. ... I was just going for too much. The games kind of flew by."
Swiatek will face No. 6 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in Thursday’s semifinals. The other women’s semifinal is No. 5 Ons Jabeur against No. 17 Caroline Garcia, who eliminated 18-year-old American Coco Gauff on Tuesday.
(with PTI inputs)