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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday April 14, 2023

{egula BJK Cup

Team USA is one win from reaching the finals after thanks to Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff.

Photo Source: Jennifer Pottheiser / USTA

Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff gave Team USA a 2-0 lead over Austria in Billie Jean King Cup qualifying – they can finish the deal tomorrow in reverse singles at Delray Beach.

Tennis Express

Gauff, who topped Julia Grabher 6-1, 6-3 on Friday, thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing for her country in her hometown.

“I wanted to protect the house,” she said. “Had a very warm welcome, which I knew that was going to happen. It was a very special moment out there for me today playing for my country, my home city.”

The victory was Gauff’s first BJK Cup singles victory and it set the tone for a banner day for the Americans.

“It means a lot,” she said. “I was very, very hurt after my loss in Glasgow. I didn't want to do that for the team. I'm glad I was able to pull it out for the team today and hopefully continue that on for the rest of the weekend.”

Pegula took the stage next and powered past Sinja Kraus 6-0, 7-5.

Pegula said nerves played a role in her performance, even though it didn’t show in the opening set.

“I get so much more nervous playing in this format. It just feels different. It's not what we're used to doing 99 percent of the time throughout the year. It's so different. The atmosphere just feels crazier.”

Pegula will face Grabher at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with Gauff scheduled to play Kraus next. If necessary Danielle Collins and Caty McNally will take on Kraus and Melanie Klaffner. Whoever emerges victorious on Saturday will join the 12-nation Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November.

Other qualifying scores

Spain leads Mexico, 2-0
Romania leads Slovenia, 2-0
Czech Republic leads Ukraine, 2-0
Italy leads Slovakia, 2-0
France leads Great Britain, 2-0
Brazil and Germany are tied, 1-1
Canada and Belgium are tied 1-1
Kazakhstan leads Poland, 2-0


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