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Jessica Pegula escapes ‘Cotton-Eye Joe’ jinx to win Canadian Open

(Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

When Jessica Pegula won the Canadian Open over Liudmila Samsonova on Sunday night, she also had to overcome a recent foe: “Cotton-Eye Joe.”

In Saturday’s semifinal win against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Pegula played through the song, which broke out mid-point in a set she eventually lost. She overcame the lost set to win the match, 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4, and then beat Samsonova in straight sets to take the title in Montreal.

She would hear “Cotton-Eye Joe” once again after that win, thanks to a bit of humor from whoever controls the in-stadium speakers.

“I lost a lot of points consecutively after ‘Cotton-Eye Joe’ came on [in the semifinals], so I’m glad I got over the ‘Cotton-Eye Joe’ jinx or whatever you want to call it,” Pegula said after her title win. “It was almost my downfall yesterday, but not anymore.”

The victory ended an impressive run for Pegula, who also toppled Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals. She became the first American to win the event since Serena Williams in 2013.

“I feel like I did enough to where I could just play freely,” she said. “It was a good day. … Winning a week like this week makes it all worth it and makes you want to keep going for more. I’ll be right back at it tomorrow in Cincinnati.”

Afterward, Pegula took to Instagram, where she dedicated her win to her dog Dex, who passed away earlier this summer.

“From two weeks ago crying on my couch for days wondering how the hell I was going to start this swing — to this week — this one’s for you Dex, thanks for looking out for me down here,” she wrote.