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Jessica Pegula says Ash Barty makes opponents feel ‘helpless’ after quarterfinal loss


Beaten American Jessica Pegula has admitted Ash Barty made her feel “helpless” on the court during her 63-minute demolition job in the Australian Open quarterfinal.

Despite coming into the match having taken out No.5 seed Maria Sakkari in the fourth round, Pegula’s hopes of reaching a maiden Grand Slam semi-final were seemingly dashed in the opening game of the match when she had her serve broken by the world No.1.

Following her exit, Pegula touched on the impact of Barty’s dominance on her rivals.

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“You feel pretty helpless,” she said.

“When she gets into a rhythm, she can kind of run away. Her game just kind of picks you apart a little bit, and it can be really frustrating because you don’t feel like you can get a lot of free points, there’s really not much you can do.

“It doesn’t feel good. I didn’t feel there was a lot I could do, and then even games where I was up really easy I still didn’t win the games. She just doesn’t give you any free points.”

When asked about Barty’s impact on the rest of the women’s tour, the 27-year-old admitted that the Australian currently had the edge on her rivals, both on and off the court.

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“Honestly, she just does everything I think a little bit better than everybody,” Pegula said.

“Just for like women’s tennis as well, she kind of plays more like a guy, maybe a different kind of style that we’re not used to playing day in and day out.

“So it’s really hard to come from someone that hits the ball really hard to someone that’s giving you all these different shots that you don’t normally see.

“I think she just does everything better honestly than most people. And just for her size, the fact that she serves so well I think is a big difference.

“I just think her intangibles, like her defensive play — I think her defense and her serve are probably her best kind of assets.

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“I think definitely she figured it out a little bit mentally and physically with her game where she has the confidence right now where she feels like she can go out there and kind of chop anybody up when she’s playing really well.

“Just to do it two out of three sets for somebody to beat her is tough because she just makes you play so much and does everything so well.

“Yeah, I think she’s definitely living in everyone’s head a little bit. I don’t think anyone is going to feel great going out to play her because they know they have to play really well.”

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