Jessica Pegula win, Damar Hamlin post-match tribute

By Chris De Silva and Emily Patterson

American world No.3 Jessica Pegula has been a popular pick to take out this year’s Australian Open women’s title, and has shown why in the opening round, sweeping away Jacqueline Cristian 6-0, 6-1.

Taking just 59 minutes, Pegula dismantled her Romanian opponent to breeze through to the second round.

Pegula enjoyed a very strong showing at the United Cup with Team USA – even shocking world No.1 Iga Swiatek in their semi-final tie.

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Pegula’s billionaire father, Terry, owns the Buffalo Bills, and she posted a message to injured player Damar Hamlin after her win.

Signing the camera after the match, Pegula wrote: “Go Bills #3”.

Hamlin, the Bills’ safety, occupies No.3 at the team.

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The 24-year-old was released from hospital last week after he went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated during an American football game at Cincinnati on January 2.

Hamlin collapsed after being struck in the chest by Bengals receiver Tee Higgins.

With the Bills defeating the Miami Dolphins in the NFL playoffs on Monday, Pegula was asked if she caught any of the game.

“I woke up around 7am and got to basically watch most of the the second half,” she told the media post-match.

“The game finished before I started my warmup so I was out there watching.

“There weren’t many people out here yet, but I was here watching.

“It wouldn’t really have affected me [if they had lost], I don’t think, but I would have been annoyed that they lost.”

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