Jelena Jankovic will be looking to put an end to Jessica Pegula's impressive run on Thursday at the Family Circle Cup.
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Jessica Pegula is turning out to be a bit of a dark horse this week at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. The American is ranked well outside of the top hundred, but she looked good in qualifying and has worked her way into round three of the main draw. She produced an especially impressive display in round two, saving four set points in the opening set before beating eighth seed Mona Barthel 7-6(4), 6-1.
It's perhaps no surprise that Pegula is doing so well. She's had time to adjust to the fairly unique green clay in qualifying, and she's also a local to this South Carolina event, having grown up in Hilton Head.
"It's an advantage, especially when she had a first round bye and everyone has been on hardcourt," remarked Pegula. "Every once in a while a lot of these girls are qualifying and then doing well, and they'll probably keep doing well because they have had a couple matches on the stuff. It really helps."
Pegula will now face former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic. JJ dropped the first set of her match against French qualifier Caroline Garcia and then had to hold her nerve during a second set tie-breaker. She eventually managed to scrape through with a 5-7, 7-6(10), 6-3 success, leaving Garcia despondent.
It's hard to tell if Pegula will be able to maintain her unexpected winning streak in Charleston. Jankovic can be an inconsistent performer, and Pegula's home advantage may wane as other players adapt to the courts here. This will be the first competitive meeting between Jankovic and Pegula.