She may be a virtual unknown to many in the Australian public, but giant killing American Jessica Pegula, who today swept through to the quarter-finals, is from one of the wealthiest families in the US.Pegula, the 26-year-old from Buffalo, New York, has played some amazing tennis over the first eight days of the Australian Open, thrashing Sam Stosur and former top 10 player Kristina Mladenovic before sending shockwaves through the tournament in the fourth round by beating world No.5 Elina Svitolina today.Watch the Australian Open with live streams of every court at 9Now. Click here to start watching!American giant killer strikes againShe has a winnable quarter-final, against either Croatian Donna Vekic or fellow American Jennifer Brady, and if she wins that match she'll be looming to spoil Ash Barty's party in the semi-final.Her performance this tournament itself is a phenomenal story but when you combine it with her family background, it's a story you could scarcely believe.Pegula has always been a super talent but a difficult run with injuries has limited her as a professional.Up until this tournament she had never gone further than the third round at a grand slam, so in many ways this tournament is an announcement of her arrival as a force to be reckoned with.While her tennis success story is in some ways just beginning, success is a word that has always been inherent in her family, along with wealth, power and influence.Her parents, Kim and Terry, built their fortune in oil and gas and beat the likes of Donald Trump and rocker Jon Bon Jovi to buy the NFL franchise the Buffalo Bills, while they also own NHL side the Buffalo Sabres. The family wealth is estimated to be somewhere in the ball park of $5 billion.Jessica Pegula signs a message to her parents after winning her fourth round Australian Open match. (Getty)Jessica has also delved into the corporate world, with her own skincare business and a charity that provides service pets to people who need them.Obviously a family like hers opens a lot of doors, but speaking to media earlier in the tournament she admitted that she used to distance herself from her family name as she tried to make her way as a tennis player."When I was younger, it was more like I wanted to make a name for myself and then I realised as I got older, I should embrace the whole family aspect of it instead," she said."It was almost hurting me in a way because it wasn't going to go away and I learned to embrace that, kind of have fun with it."Obviously I still do like to keep things separate at times."Tennis is like my thing, it's my job, it's my career. It's very separate and my parents don't really have any say right now in anything I do on the court."Jessica Pegula celebrates her Australian Open fourth round win. (Getty)Clearly it's working for her, with Pegula's mix of power and poise impressing Nine commentator Sam Smith so much she picked her to be world No.1 Barty's biggest on the way to Saturday's final.Pegula made good of that "wild statement" in a poised 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Svitolina, keeping her nerves in check to get over the line in a tight three-setter.After the match she said she'd been focused on finding the right mix of aggression and control."I've definitely tried to incorporate that in my game," she told Nine in her on-court interview."Especially against someone like [Svitolina], in the second set I started to overhit a little bit, I wasn't really moving forward so at the end of the second I think it was important I got some better games in there to try and get some momentum in the third."Also it was kind of hot today, so I think with the nerves and the end of the third set being tough I got a little tired, but I feel good now."Jessica Pegula has had an outstanding Australian Open. (Getty)Pegula said her family would have been watching her match on television back in Buffalo, adding "I'm sure everyone's excited"."Buffalo's kind of a small town but everyone gets behind whoever, so being from there I've definitely gotten a lot of support from them so shout out to Buffalo for always supporting me back at home and hopefully I can bring some tennis back to Buffalo."For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
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