Gauff, Pegula charge to doubles title in Doha

The all-American pairing of Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula had a superb week at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open, as the unseeded duo took the doubles title in Doha with a 3-6, 7-5, [10-5] victory over No.3 seeds Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Elise Mertens of Belgium.

Gauff and Pegula staged a comeback win in an hour and 40 minutes to claim the title at the WTA 1000 event, ending the seven-match winning streak of Kudermetova and Mertens, who won the Dubai title last week.

Gauff and Pegula were playing only their fourth event together, and their team results had not previously yielded many victories. They were 0-2 in 2021, and grabbed their first team win just last week in Dubai before falling in the second round.

But it all clicked into place for the Americans in Doha, who beat three seeded teams en route to the crown, including No.2 seeds Ena Shibahara and Zhang Shuai in the quarterfinals.

“We’re super excited,” Pegula said afterwards. “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.”

Kudermetova and Mertens clinched the first set in 37 minutes, but Gauff and Pegula rebounded in a closely-contested second set, breaking the Kudermetova serve at 5-5 to grasp the pivotal service break and queue up a decisive match-tiebreak.

Read more: Doha singles final preview: Making the case for Kontaveit and Swiatek

A Gauff swinging backhand volley winner to end the first point of the match-tiebreak set the tone, and the Americans leapt out to a commanding 5-1 lead.

The unseeded pair methodically advanced to championship point at 9-4 following a netted forehand by Kudermetova. A Gauff backhand miscue erased one match point, but Gauff slammed a service winner on the second to wrap up victory and a massive WTA 1000 title.

Despite being behind in the first set, Gauff said that basically “every game was deuce. I’m like, ‘We’re there, we just need to convert,’ and we finally did convert. 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. “

Gauff grabbed the fourth and biggest WTA doubles title of her career this week. Her three previous titles of her all came at WTA 250 level alongside her regular partner Caty McNally.

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

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