Pegula falls to Cibulkova at U.S. Open

Jessica Pegula returns a shot against Dominika Cibulkova, of Slovakia, in the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Family Circle Tennis Center academy player Jessica Pegula appeared to have Dominika Cibulkova on the ropes five points from the finish line of Wednesday’s second-round U.S. Open match, but allowed the 2014 Australian Open runner-up to sneak back into the match and finally win it.

Cibulkova recovered from a foot-fault call that gave Pugula double break point to win the 11th game of the second set, then came up with a love service break to even the match at a set each before closing out a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 win over the scrappy 21-year-old Pegula in a televised match.

Charleston touring professional Shelby Rogers’ second-round match against Kurumi Nara of Japan is scheduled for Thursday as the third match on court 13 where play will begin at 11 a.m.

Pegula, ranked No. 260 in the world, scrapped all the way and generally out-hit Cibulkova until Pegula gave the Slovakian new life in the second set.

After getting breaks in Cibulkova’s first two service games for a 3-0 lead, Pegula led 5-3 before allowing Cibulkova to deadlock the first set. Pegula then came up with a service break and a service hold to take a set lead over the world’s 50th-ranked player.

Pegula also jumped off to a 3-1 lead in the second set, but the often erratic Cibulkova got her game together to win three straight games for a 4-3 lead.

Pegula held the next two times for a 5-5 deadlock, and appeared to be in control of the second set and match after a foot fault was called on Cibulova on a second serve that Pegula had returned into the net. That gave Pegula a 40-15 edge, but she wasted both break points as she badly over-hit on a service return and then was passed by Cibulkova.

Cibulkova won the next two points for a 6-5 lead before breaking Pegula to close out the second set.

Cibulkova jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third set and then swapped service breaks before serving out the match.

Pegula will now team with former Family Circle academy player Melanie Oudin to open doubles play on Thursday against Timea Bacsinsky and Chia-Jung Chuang.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.