Lexington champion Brady suffers early Cincinnati exit

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A week after winning the first title of her career, American Jennifer Brady came back to earth with a bang on Sunday as she was ousted in the first round of the Western and Southern Open.

Having hit the heights in Lexington when she blasted her way through the field, Brady found world No 83 Jessica Pegula too hot to handle at the National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows — which is staging the event this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic – going down 7-6, 6-4 on Sunday.

So brilliant all week in Lexington, world No. 40 Jennifer Brady had been tipped to have another good week and perhaps as an outsider for this month’s US Open. But her serve, which had helped her to the title last week, misfired, with Pegula breaking her five times in all.

Jessica Pegula, Cincinnati 2019

Pegula had her left thigh strapped but it didn’t make any difference and after taking the first-set tiebreak 7-5, she edged the second set thanks to the odd break and wrapped up victory in one hour, 46 minutes.

The 26-year-old Pegula now plays another American, Amanda Anisimova, in the second round.

CiCi sees her way through

With Brady and Pegula forced to go head-to-head right away in round one, it was always going to be a mixed bag for the American women on Sunday. And the see-saw nature of the day continued for the host nation. Danielle Collins lost to Lexington runner-up Jil Teichmann 6-3, 6-3 and wild card Sloane Stephens succumbed to Carolina Garcia 6-3, 7-6(4).

The news was better for CiCi Bellis and Christina McHale. Bellis outlasted Oceane Dodin 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(1) after exactly two hours of play. The 21-year-old fired seven aces and withstood 11 aces off the Dodin racket. As for McHale, it has already been an outstanding stay inside the bubble for her. The 28-year-old successfully qualified for the main draw and then beat Iga Swiatek — ranked 39 spots of ahead of her — 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday.

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