By Max Gao
No. 3 seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula took home their second title of the season on Sunday evening, battling past Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez, 6-4, 6-7(5), [10-5], to win the 2022 National Bank Open presented by Rogers.
With this victory, the all-American team, who won the WTA 1000 event in Doha and made the final of Roland Garros earlier this year, will reach new milestones on Monday: Pegula will jump to No. 8 in the doubles rankings, while Gauff will become the 11th American woman and 46th player overall to reach No. 1 in doubles.
“Being No. 1 is pretty cool,” Gauff said in her post-match press conference. “I have no words. I didn’t really know it was coming this week and what I had to do. But [Pegula] told me yesterday. It didn’t make me more nervous though. I think if it was singles, I would have been more nervous.”
Gauff and Pegula got off to a slow start, falling down a double break in the first set, but they responded emphatically, excelling in their return games and finding their range on serve. The all-American team went on to recover both breaks and ultimately broke once more to take the opener. In the final game of the set, Melichar-Martinez and Perez saved three set points, but on the deciding point, Perez’s lob drifted just long, handing the early advantage to Gauff and Pegula.
Melichar-Martinez and Perez faced six championship points in the second set: three while trailing 4-5 and another three at 5-6. Miraculously, they were able to hold their ground, coming up with some clutch shots under pressure, and their resistance was eventually rewarded. On set point in the tiebreak, Perez hit a line-clipping, backhand return winner down the middle that surprised both Gauff and Pegula, sending the final to a 10-point match tiebreak.
Gauff and Pegula made a strong start in the super-tiebreak, jumping out to a 6-2 lead before Melichar-Martinez and Perez won three points in a row to get back on serve. In the end, though, Gauff and Pegula’s lethal combination of power and precision proved too much for the unseeded team, with the No. 3 seeds reeling off the next four points to clinch the victory in two hours and 16 minutes.