Reunited: Baptiste, McNally partner
to win doubles in Charleston
Victoria Chiesa | April 19, 2021
Reunited and it feels so good: Hailey Baptiste and Caty McNally are back in the winners' circle together.
Having partnered to win the 2018 Easter Bowl as juniors, the two Americans won on the WTA tour last week as they captured the doubles title at the MUSC Health Women's Open in Charleston, S.C.
Unseeded at the WTA 250 event, Baptiste and McNally beat top seeds Ellen Perez and Storm Sanders in a match tiebreak, 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-6, in the championship.
The win is McNally's third WTA doubles title and Baptiste's first. McNally was scheduled to play with her usual partner, Coco Gauff, for the second week in Charleston after they played in the prior week's Volvo Car Open, but Gauff withdrew with an injury she picked up during the WTA 500 event.
"I was so excited to be here and to play with Hailey. ADVERTISEMENT This was our second time playing together after we won the junior 18s at the Easter Bowl a few years ago, but this is our first time playing in a pro tournament together. We get along really well on and off the court, so I think that's what led us to win this tournament," McNally said during the trophy ceremony.
"Our opponents are great players, singles and doubles, and I think that we really had to play our A-game. We really just had to be smart. They were crossing a lot, so we had to think about when to go [down the] line, just take our time, try to be as aggressive as possible, and know that if we just kept going, we might get a chance. We did in the second set, and that's what turned it around."
In addition to the top-seeded Aussies, Baptiste and McNally also ended the winning streak of compatriot Ingrid Neel and France's Elixane Lechemia in the quarterfinals, who came to Charleston after winning the doubles title on red clay in Bogota, Colombia.
On winning her first title in her maiden WTA final, Baptiste added: "It feels really good to win my first title here in Charleston with one of my good friends that I've grown up with. I'm super excited and I hope to build on this, this year. Clay is one of my favorite surfaces, so I'm super-excited to go to Europe and play on it some more."
The 19-year-old Baptiste is a product of the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) in College Park, Md. and the USTA Foundation NJTL chapter and Excellence Team program there. Baptiste had previously been winless in doubles at WTA tour-level, and ironically, had been beaten by Gauff and McNally at last summer's US Open when partnering Whitney Osuigwe.