World number two Ons Jabeur overcame a sluggish start to beat top-ranked American Jessica Pegula 1-6 6-3 6-3 on Wednesday for her first win in round robin play at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
Pegula came out firing against the Tunisian, catching up to a drop shot in plenty of time to deliver a backhand winner to snag the 25-minute first set.
But Jabeur came alive in the second, breaking Pegula when her forehand hit the net cord and landed out of bounds for a 4-3 lead en route to leveling the contest at a set apiece.
Frustration appeared to mount for Pegula in the decider and she did not even attempt to run down a Jabeur drop shot on break point that gave the Tunisian a 5-3 lead. Jabeur went on to seal the win on an errant backhand from Pegula on match point.
“In the first set, she was playing really well and really fast,” Jabeur told Tennis Channel.
“The balls were really tough, very low, and I know she likes to play the balls like that. I just had to change up the rhythm and impose my game more than her game.”
Jabeur, who fell to Aryna Sabalenka in a tight three setter in her opening match on Monday, said the group format did not afford her time to sulk over the loss.
“I’m used to being depressed for the next two days when I lose but I didn’t have much time here,” Jabeur said after collecting her 47th win of the season.
“The first match was very close, that’s what’s most frustrating about it... but I kept positive.”
A loss would have eliminated the 28-year-old Jabeur from the semifinals because Maria Sakkari beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-4 in the late match in a meeting of a players who won their openers in the round-robin format.