If Jessica Pegula continues to roll into Flushing Meadows, her famous father might actually show up.
But don’t count on it. The Buffalo Bills open their season Thursday night against the Rams. Jessica’s father Terry owns the Bills and Sabers and may have fathered a future Grand Slam champion.
The late-blooming, eighth-placed Pegula, the highest-ranking American man or womanis in her first US Open quarterfinals with a routine 6-3, 6-2, Labor Day, demolition of Petra Kvitova.
It was over after 1 hour and 13 minutes, after which Pegula asked the ecstatic crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium if there were any Bills fans in the house.
“I don’t mind missing the game if I’m still playing,” Pegula, who will play in Thursday night’s semifinals when she defeats No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek. “It’s going to be a tough game.”
She was referring to the Bills, but the way Pegula is stroking the ball, she’ll likely have an easier time against the top seed than her NFL team did against the Super Bowl champion.
Father Pegula is not in Flushing and may not be coming. More nerves than anything else. She has a lot of fans at the US Open, but always runs into Buffalo people.
“A lot of people from Buffalo who are kind of everywhere, you can always find someone who’s a fan of Bills and Sabers,” said Pegula, who makes her home in Boca Raton, Fla.
Her father prefers to look at it from a distance. “He just tells me ‘Well done,'” Pegula said. “He likes to give his little recap of the game or what the opponent did. He might enjoy watching at home so it’s not that stressful. To be honest, I already have my brother and sister here. I’m not sure if I made it to the final, let’s say if he was going to make it. We will see.”
After hip and knee surgeries, Pegula is finding just as much success as the Bills. It took her a while to reach her prime and admits her journey is unorthodox. She feels like she needs to get even bigger on her service returns and generally take more risks – to take the next step and reach her first Open final. It’s her fourth Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Pegula says she’s learned to cope with a fortnight and stay mentally focused in Manhattan.
“I think it’s a difficult balance, especially in New York,” Pegula said. “Everything is so hectic and crazy and you can really feel overwhelmed. I love the feeling and when a second week starts it’s so calm and it’s an amazing feeling when you’re like, ‘Oh, everyone’s gone.’
“I think for me sometimes I need to go out and do things, I don’t need to be stuck in my hotel room and sit at my computer and just watch TV all day. I think I have to balance the city.”
Attending Mets and Yankees games and eating out in Manhattan has been how she’s unwinded for the past three weeks. But she was – for some reason – addicted to “Family Guy” episodes in her hotel room.
“I don’t know why — my husband and I are just into that kick,” Pegula said.