Take Five: Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula win San Diego in busy week for Americans
Welcome to Take Five, a weekly series on USTA.com recapping five of the biggest stories from American tennis over the last week on the professional tennis circuit. A total of seven Americans played for ATP and WTA trophies last week, with Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula triumphing in doubles at the San Diego Open.
Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula bag third title together in San Diego
With 11 Americans in the main draw of the inagural San Diego Open, the two at the top of the rankings walked away with hardware: Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula partnered to win their third title of the season at the WTA 500 event.
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland swept to her tour-leading eighth title of the season in the singles event, and knocked off both Gauff (quarterfinals) and Pegula (semifinals along the way). Danielle Collins also reached the semifinals, but was beaten by eventual losing finalist Donna Vekic of Croatia in a third-set tiebreak.
The No. 1 seeds in the doubles draw, Gauff and Pegula had to play two full matches on Sunday after rain wreaked havoc on the schedule late in the week. They won a rain-postponed semifinal match against No. 4 seeds Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs 6-3, 7-6(5) before rallying from a set down to defeat No. 2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6, 7-5, [10-4] to take the title hours later.
Pegula's now won all five of her career WTA doubles titles this year overall; in addition to three with Gauff, she won the Melbourne Summer Set 1 with Asia Muhammad in January, and the Citi Open with New Zealand's Erin Routliffe in July.
The week was fruitful for Gauff and Pegula's future this season, too: Pegula clinched the third spot in the season-ending WTA Finals, which will be held in Fort Worth, Texas in two weeks, with a second-round victory over fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe. A day later, Gauff and Pegula secured their qualification for the doubles event in Fort Worth by reaching the semifinals in San Diego.
Sebastian Korda falls in Gijon final to Andrey Rublev
To reach his third career ATP singles final at the inaugural Gijon Open in Spain last week, Sebastian Korda knocked off a top seed and a Grand Slam champion.
Korda defeated Jaume Munar, No. 3 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, former world No. 1 Andy Murray and France's Arthur Rinderknech to book a spot opposite top seed Andrey Rublev in the final, but Rublev was too strong: The world No. 9 recorded a 6-2, 6-3 victory to earn his fourth title of the season.
Korda was bidding for his second career ATP singles title, having one his first last spring on clay in Parma, Italy. But Rublev struck 29 winners, broke the American's serve three times and hit just four unforced errors in a 77-minute victory. Nonetheless, Korda took the positives from his best showing at an ATP event since April, when he last reached a semifinal (Estoril).
"It's been a long year, but we've [he and his team] always stayed positive, and we're starting to play a lot better now. We're always having fun," Korda said in his runner-up speech, thanking both the group that follows him around the world and those cheering at home.
Korda needed three sets to beat both Bautista Agut and Murray, coming from a set down in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win against the world No. 22 for his seventh win against a Top 25 player this year. He also knocked off Murray, in the draw as a wild card, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
In this week's rankings, Korda moves up 11 spots to No. 36, six spots off the career-high of No. 30 he reached in May.
J.J. Wolf reaches first-ever ATP singles final in Florence
You never forget your first, and for J.J. Wolf, that'll be Florence, Italy: The 23-year-old former Ohio State University star reached the first ATP singles final of his career with an inspired effort last week in the inaugural Firenze Open.
After coming from a set down in his 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 opening win against Italian wild card Francesco Maestrelli, Wolf defeated two seeds en route to his first-ever ATP semifinal: In Round 2, he knocked off fellow American and No. 4 seed Maxime Cressy, 6-3, 6-4, and then came from a set behind again in his 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 quarterfinal win over No. 7 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.
He defeated Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer, who was also competing for a spot in his first ATP final, 6-4, 6-4 to earn a berth opposite top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Wolf began the year at No. 174 in the ATP rankings, and broke into the Top 100 for the first time on Aug. 1. He's climbed more than 100 places this season, and now sits at a new career-best of No. 56.
Austin Krajicek, Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow reach doubles finals
While Korda and Wolf were surging through the singles draws in Gijon and Florence, Austin Krajicek, Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow were doing the same in doubles.
Krajicek and his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig finished as runners-up in Gijon to France's Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 7–6(4), 6–3, while Lammons and Withrow were beaten in the Florence final by Argentines Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni in an epic, 6–7(6), 7–6(4), [10–5].
Dodig and Krajicek, who also reached the Roland Garros final, were playing in their fifth ATP final together and fourth this year. Lammons and Withrow were bidding for their second title as a pair in 2022 after winning in San Diego last month.
Louisa Chirico wins first WTA main-draw match in five years
For the first time since 2017, American Louisa Chirico won a WTA-level main-draw match thanks to a stirring comeback against compatriot Alison Riske-Amtritraj at the San Diego Open in 2 hours and 53 minutes.
Riske-Amritraj led 6-1, 4-0, and was also ahead by a break in the third set, before Chirico scored one of the comebacks of the season, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(5). She also trailed 0-40 on serve at 4-4 in the final set, but held on.
Now 26, New Jersey-born and New York-raised Chirico burst onto the scene in 2016 by reaching the semifinals of the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open as a qualifier at age 19; she reached at a career-high ranking of No. 58 later that year before a shoulder injury took her out of the game for 18 months.
She's been building her way back to the highest levels in the seasons since, a step-by-step road that included a triumph at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Charlottesville, Va. in April—her first title in three years. Chirico came into the tournament as No. 196 in the WTA rankings, which meant she needed a wild card just to get into qualifying in San Diego, but moves up to No. 155 this week.
Other highlights for Americans around the world last week included:
- Michael Mmoh won his second ATP Challenger in as many months with a victory at the ATP 80 Fairfield Challenger in Fairfield, Calif. He lost 23 games in nine sets played for the week. (He received a retirement in his Round 1 win.) Out of qualifying, University of Florida star Sam Riffice, and Cornell University and Kansas star Alafia Ayeni, reached the semifinals.
- Peyton Stearns extended her USTA Pro Circuit winning streak to 10 straight matches with a victory at the USTA Pro Circuit ITF World Tennis Tour W25 event in Florence, S.C. She lost 10 games in her first four matches before coming from a set down to defeat Germany's Alexandra Vecic in the final. Sisters Allura Zamarripa and Maribella Zamarripa beat Samantha Crawford and Clervie Ngounoue in an all-American doubles final.
- Sisters Carmen Corley and Ivana Corley won their second professional doubles title, and biggest, with a triumph at the USTA Pro Circuit ITF World Tennis Tour W60 event in Las Vegas.
- Aleksandar Kovacevic reached the doubles final of the ATP Challenger 110 in Seoul, South Korea, while Caty McNally reached the semifinals of the ITF World Tennis Tour W80 event in Trnava, Slovakia.