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Pro Media & News

Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula team for biggest doubles title in Doha

Victoria Chiesa | February 25, 2022

Despite just one match win in three previous tournaments together, Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula found some of their best tennis together to win their biggest career doubles title at the Qatar Total Open.

 

The unseeded American beat three seeded teams over the course of four completed matches (plus one walkover) to take home the trophy at the WTA 1000 event, and capped their victorious run on Friday with a 3-6, 7-5, [10-5] win over No. 3 seeds Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Elise Mertens of Belgium.

 

The duo not only ended Kudermetova and Mertens' seven-match winning streak in the final—the pair were winners last week in Dubai—but also defeated No. 2 seeds Jelena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the first round and No. 2 seeds Ena Shibahara and Zhang Shuai in the quarterfinals.

"We're super excited," Pegula said after the match. "I don't think we were expecting to win the tournament, let alone a 1000. We said before, seriously, last week was the first match we won together. We have teamed up before but we've had some first-round exits.

 

"It's good to kind of find our chemistry a little bit on court and get that going. That obviously paid off a lot this week."

 

Gauff added: "I always knew that we had the ability to be a good team. We both do well in singles, and both of us do well in doubles with other partners, so it was like, we have the tools. We just need to figure out how to use them.

 

"Finally this week, even last week, we kind of got the machine starting, and this week it just kind of ran through."

 

Despite losing the first three games against Kudermetova and Mertens and falling a set behind in 37 minutes, Gauff felt the pair were closer to turning the match around than the scoreline indicated. 

 

"Every game was deuce. I'm like, 'We're there. We just need to convert,' and we finally did convert," she said. "Then eventually the momentum started to go our way and we started to play more aggressive and started to put pressure on them and that's kind of what got us through it today."

The pair secured the decisive break against Kudemetova's serve at 5-5 in the second set, and jumped out to a 5-1 and 9-4 leads in the match tiebreak. 

 

It is the fourth career doubles title in Gauff's career and her first won with a partner other than Caty McNally, who elected to play the concurrent WTA 250 event in Guadalajara, Mexico this week. Though both Gauff and Pegula both told reporters they intend to play together more when schedules and form permit, Pegula joked that their partnership has a long way to go to match the achievements and energy of her junior compatriots: "I don't think anything is going to beat McCoco, to be honest. It's kind of perfect."

"We are going to talk about it and look at the schedule and figure out when to play," Gauff added. "I think that after this week it definitely kind of put in perspective that we are a good team"

 

It is a second career WTA doubles title for Pegula, who won her first earlier this year alongside Asia Muhammad at WTA 250 Melbourne Summer Set 1.

 

"I think it just proves we are good doubles players," Pegula said.

 

"It's kind of like the same thing in singles, when you start winning and get a couple of big wins, and you're like, 'Oh, wow, I can actually play at this level, I can win this tournament.' It's just like that next step of belief, I guess. With doubles, it's the same thing. You're still out there competing and you want to win.

 

"We were joking too, I mean, they're a good team. They play amazing with other, they have won [Grand] Slams, won medals, so I think it just proves we can play at that level. I think we were really aggressive today, and I think it just proved that it paid off and won us the match where maybe we're a little bit more hesitant than some other doubles teams, but I think we proved that we can play like that."

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