Rome: No. 1 seeds Cori Gauff, Jessica Pegula upset by fourth seeds in doubles final
by DZEVAD MESIC | VIEW 1579
Top-seeded Cori Gauff and Jessica Pegula fell just short of winning their third title of the year after losing to Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens in the Rome final. Hunter and Mertens, seeded at No 4, upset Gauff and Pegula in the Rome doubles final 6-4 6-4.
Hunter and Mertens earned the first break of the match in the third game but Gauff and Pegula got the break back in the eighth game to tie the first set to four games apiece. However, blowing an early first-set break didn't impact Hunter and Mertens, who broke Gauff and Pegula again in the ninth game before serving out for the opener in the following game.
After losing the first set, Gauff and Pegula bounced back at the start of the second set as the American duo had a 4-1 lead. But then, Gauff and Pegula's game collapsed as Hunter and Mertens won the next five games to overturn a second-set deficit and complete a two-set win.
After winning it all in Doha and Miami, Gauff and Pegula have now been beaten in back-to-back finals - Madrid and Rome.
Hunter, Mertens on beating Gauff, Pegula
"I think in the first set we were a little bit more dominant, the ones who were crossing, putting first serves in.
I think that made the difference, we held serve," Mertens said. Meanwhile, Hunter noted her and Mertens' plan was to not give anything easy to Gauff and Pegula. "I think the biggest thing was first serve percentage. They both hit really well from the back and hit really good returns.
It was taking pressure off us to make first serves. The minute I was missing first serves, Coco was hitting big backhands. We just tried to compete really hard and even if the score is 0-40 or 40-0, just stay in the game. Even if we didn't win the game, keep it as close as possible.
Even if we didn't win the game, keeping it as close as possible, you try to keep the momentum going forward," Hunter said.