'Cotton Eye Joe' Disrupts Match

Swiatek, Pegula were mid-point at the Canadian Open when the song filled the arena
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2023 6:35 PM CDT
Song Intrudes on Tennis Match
Jessica Pegula hits a return to Iga Swiatek on Saturday in Montreal.   (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nothing breaks the thwack-thwack tension of a top women's professional tennis match, turns out, like "Cotton Eye Joe." Iga Swiatek, the world No. 1, and Jessica Pegula were in the middle of a second-set tiebreak in their semifinal at the Canadian Open in Montreal on Saturday when the Rednex song suddenly began blasting over the arena's public address system, People reports. The umpire stopped play, but the song went on. "I just thought it was funny," Pegula said afterward. But then, she won the match at the end, upsetting Swiatek 6-2 6-7(4) 6-4, per CNN.

Fans seemed bothered by the intrusion, per People, though videos soon appeared on social media. Swiatek won 12 straight points after the musical interlude and tied the match at a set apiece. But after falling behind in the third set, Pegula rallied, taking 16 of the last 19 points. "In the third, I don't really know what happened when I was leading," Swiatek said, adding, "It was a tricky match." Pegula said, who the final on Sunday by defeating Liudmila Samsonova, said she's never experienced such an interruption, "let alone with 'Cotton Eye Joe.'" She said she thought, "Is this really happening right now? Of all the songs." (More women's tennis stories.)

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