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September 7, 2022

Jessica Pegula

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

I. SWIATEK/J. Pegula

6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Tough match. Your thoughts.

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, it was a tough match. Conditions were definitely a little bit different playing at night. So we had some adjusting to do. I feel like the first set was a little ugly. Happy the way I fought back in the second.

Still a tough loss.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you describe how frustrating it must have been, the second set.

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, both of us, like, couldn't hold. It was pretty crazy there for a while.

I don't know if we were just returning well and not serving great or what. But, yeah, it was frustrating. Especially 6-5, serving 40-Love. She hits one ball right off the line, then wins two points. That can be really frustrating.

Definitely wish I would have just served 5% better. I felt like at least I could have won the second set. So, yeah, that's frustrating.

Q. In terms of serving 5% better, do you mean speed-wise, placement, percentage?

JESSICA PEGULA: All three. All three ideally.

I don't know, just like a free point, one to set up the second ball would have been nice. She returns well and moves so well, to play her you have to be serving smart and hitting your spots.

Yeah, I just felt like I needed to step it up there a little bit on my serve to win that second set. And I didn't, so...

But, yeah, all three of those. One of the three would have been nice (smiling).

Q. I like the Heineken.

JESSICA PEGULA: I'm trying to pee for doping. Although it does help ease the loss (smiling).

Q. Obviously not the result you wanted, but an incredible year for you at majors. Does that make this sting a little less? Are you able to take some positives from the season or is it too early to see that?

JESSICA PEGULA: Honestly, I don't know. I go back and forth. Oh, I should be positive. At the same time I'm like, (expletive), three quarterfinals. Sorry, but it sucks. It sucks.

I wish I could have done it here at my home slam, but I guess not. I wish I didn't have to play Iga every quarterfinal or Ash Barty, which seem to be the two people that don't really lose that often. So it just sucks.

I mean, I had a great year at the slams. I know there's still some tournaments left. I don't know. I'm a little deflated right now. I'm not real happy. I don't know, it just sucks to lose. I just wish it would have been different tonight.

I'm sure tomorrow I'll wake up and see more of the positives, for sure.

Q. A number seemed of unforced errors on your part. Was that more you or something she did?

JESSICA PEGULA: Well, she switched racquets at like Love-30. I missed that swing volley, which who knows if I would have won that game, maybe it would have been a different set. She switched racquets and I did think it helped her a little bit. Her ball wasn't flying as much.

I was used to her making errors. She maybe hit a couple balls, and I think I was just thrown off with the rhythm. Then I started missing everything for literally the rest of the set. So yeah, I broke her, then just totally lost like every single ball, felt like I was missing every single ball.

It was definitely a huge momentum change. I think it helped her a lot. So it was a good move by her. She knew the ball was flying on her a little bit and needed to change racquets.

Her ball was landing a little shorter. I felt like I wasn't maybe moving up to it. I just made a few stupid errors. She started playing a little bit better. I was just going for too much. The games kind of flew by, went really quickly. Next thing I knew, I lost the set 6-3.

Q. Do you think you just had to redline it a lot against her, how consistent she is? Do you think you had to go for too much or were you pretty comfortable with how the rallies were going?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I mean, it's hard with her because she moves so well, so you know you have to move in and try and dictate the point as well. Then you don't want to make those easy unforced errors that she kind of forces you to make with her movement.

I mean, that's the balance, right? It's like finding when to go for your shots, then also when to pull back. I felt like I was winning to lot of the long rallies, too.

I don't know. It's a balance. I don't know. When I figure it out, hopefully I'll win next time.

Q. How do you feel the crowd was tonight?

JESSICA PEGULA: It was great. Awesome. It was super awesome. Especially when I kept breaking to come back in the set, I could really feel their energy. I really wanted to get to a third for them. I guess just wasn't in the cards.

But it was really fun to play at night. It was fun to see all the celebrities and all the people they kept showing between the changeovers. Was pretty cool.

Q. Did have you any nerves or feel pressure in the first set at all?

JESSICA PEGULA: No, I actually felt pretty good. I don't know, Ashe... I didn't really honestly feel too nervous on Ashe at any point throughout the tournament. I don't know why that is. I guess it's a good thing. It's a nice court. I liked it. It was fun. I enjoyed my time tonight.

No, I didn't really feel nerves or anything. It felt like home, which I guess is good.

Q. Since you have played Iga a number of times, was it any different? Did you see anything different in tonight's match compared to specifically maybe Miami or Roland Garros?

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, I mean, they're all, like, totally different matches I guess, so it's hard to compare.

Obviously in Miami I think she was like on that tear where she was winning a lot of matches. So I think it was a little bit different.

Tonight, yeah, I mean, I felt like I was returning better. I felt like she was making more errors tonight. I know she probably doesn't love the conditions and the balls. I'm sure she's not feeling great either, getting broken as well, in the second set.

Yeah, just a little difference with those things. But, I mean, to be expected. I don't expect her to play lights-out every single time.

Yeah, and clay, it's totally different I feel like, so it's hard to compare that.

Q. In the morning a lot of the coverage was about you and Frances being the last two hopes. What did it mean to be in that position? And a few words on Frances.

JESSICA PEGULA: Yeah, he's the last American standing, I guess.

No, so proud of him. I know he had some tough matches this summer. Actually kind of funny. I was like asking about a couple of his matches. I'm pretty, like, candid, I don't know what the word is.

I'd be like, Yeah, you were up like 4-0 against Fritz in the third. Like what happened?

He's like, Oh, my God, why are you asking it like that?

I didn't realize he played that night in Cincy or something.

I was like, Oh, shoot, I probably shouldn't have said it like that.

I'm always kind of got on him. Can you win a match, like, normal and not be like this whole theatrical event?

I always give him crap. It's amazing to see how he has played so much more focused even though he had a couple tough matches in Montreal and Cincinnati and all this stuff. I was like, You're playing so much better. It's coming. It's just coming for that one match.

It came here at the US Open, so it's really nice to see. He's so much fun to watch, so charismatic. Nothing but good things to say about him. I'm really proud of him for really focusing these last couple weeks because he can be all over the place.

The way he's taking care of business has been really, really impressive. Yeah, I know he's super hyped up and ecstatic, but such a good story on him. I just wish I could join him or Coco could join him or something like that.

Yeah, it's been fun to have that feeling of everyone behind us as Americans coming in the second week of the US Open. It's been really special. Glad I get to share that with him, definitely.

Q. Please don't say you don't want to play Iga Swiatek because it was a fun match. I found out you got married in Asheville. It was Asheville Day. Was it a strange coincidence? A good omen?

JESSICA PEGULA: I didn't realize it was Asheville Day until they said it on court. That's funny, I got married there. It's such, like, a small town in North Carolina, kind of random. I know we played Fed Cup there, so I don't know if there's some relationship with that.

No, I thought that was really cool. I was hoping it was a good omen, I guess not. But it's still kind of fun that it was Asheville Day and we got to play. It was cool.

But it was a fun match playing with Iga. I always like to play against the best in the world and challenge myself. That part I'll always be happy about. I wish it was a better omen than it ended up being.

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