No.1 seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula squeaked into their third straight WTA 1000 doubles final with a comeback semifinal win at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday.
The all-American pairing of Gauff and Pegula fought back from a set and a break down to outlast No.3 seeds Desirae Krawczyk of the United States and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands 4-6, 7-6(5), [10-8] after 1 hour and 53 minutes of play in Rome.
In the final, Gauff and Pegula will face either No.4 seeds Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens or unseeded Marie Bouzkova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Those teams will square off in the second semifinal on Thursday evening.
WTA 1000 excellence: Gauff and Pegula have been the dominant team at the most recent WTA 1000 events, winning the title on the hard courts of Miami and finishing as runners-up to Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia on the Madrid clay.
After the tight victory over Krawczyk and Schuurs in Rome on Thursday, Gauff and Pegula have now won 13 of their last 14 matches at WTA 1000-level. Gauff and Pegula are a win away from their fourth WTA 1000 title as a duo, and their sixth team title overall.
Key moments: Krawczyk and Schuurs, the two-time reigning champions on the Stuttgart clay, went up a double-break at 5-2 in the opener before holding on for the one-set lead. They broke Gauff’s serve in the opening game of the second set to claim the set-and-a-break advantage.
But Schuurs dropped serve with a double fault to level the second set at 4-4. In a closely-contested second-set tiebreak, Pegula fired a deft lob beyond Schuurs to convert her team’s first set point at 6-5, tying up the match.
Exactly half the points went to the returners in the decisive match-tiebreak, where Gauff and Pegula reached double match point at 9-7 after Krawczyk netted a rally backhand. On their second match point, Gauff fired a backhand passing winner down the line to attain victory.
Gauff and Pegula had six more winners and six fewer unforced errors than their opponents in the match.