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Pegula "I'm from a half-Korean mother, so winning feels very special"

17 october 2023

Pegula "I'm from a half-Korean mother, so winning feels very special"

Women's tennis takes top spot at Korea Open

Jessica Pegula (29-U.S.-World No. 4-photo) is back at the top of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour Korea Open. The top-seeded American won her fourth career WTA title with a 2-0 (6-2, 6-3) victory over Yuan Wei (25-China-128th) in one hour and 12 minutes in the singles final on Friday at the Olympic Park Tennis Courts in Seoul.

This is the second time Pegula has competed at the Korea Open, having won in 2019. "I'm half-Korean, my mom adopted me from Korea," Pegula said in her on-court interview after her win. It feels very special to win in my mom's country," he said, adding, "I'm sorry I don't speak Korean. But I love pork belly and kimchi," she laughed.

Her mother, Kim Pegula, 54, was abandoned in front of a police box in Noryangjin, Seoul, in 1974. She was raised in an orphanage and became Kim Sook-hee, born June 7, 1969. No one knows when her actual birthday was or what her real name was. She was adopted by the United States in December of that year, and the surname she was given at the orphanage became her name. Kim, who married Perry, 72, in 1993, has amassed a combined fortune of $7 billion (about 9.5 trillion won) as of 2021 through natural gas, real estate, sports and entertainment businesses.

Kim stepped on South Korean soil for the first time since her adoption in 2019 in time for her daughter's Korea Open appearance, but she was unable to accompany her as she has been battling heart disease since last year. Instead, Korean fans filled the void. "I was surprised because I didn't expect the Korean fans to be so supportive," Pegula said, "I hope my mom will recover well and come with me next year." As Pegula concluded the interview, he said "thank you" in Korean, and the 7121 fans in attendance at the stadium erupted in applause.