Rome | Gauff & Routliffe to meet Errani & Paolini in doubles final

Coco Gauff shook off the disappointment of her singles loss in the semi-final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by reaching the doubles final with her new partner, Erin Routliffe, after defeating Wang Xinyu & Zheng Saisai in straight sets on Friday.

It's very special to be here in a final here in Rome with our crowd. We are very, very happy. I think we played a really good match. We spoke before [about] what to do, and we did it very well. Was quite perfect! Sara Errani

Their opponents in the trophy match on Sunday are Sara Errani & Jasmine Paolini, who carry homeland hopes after they upset of No 8 seeds Caroline Dolehide & Desirae Krawczyk in the Last 4.

Gauff & Routliffe are the No 3 seeds, who go into the championship match as favourites on the back of an impressive performance in beating Wang & Zheng, 6-3 7-6(3).

Gauff, the reigning US Open singles champion, is also one of the best doubles players in the world who was ranked No 1 in August 2022, and, in Friday’s semi-final, she used her tactical knowledge and tenacity to back up Routliffe, who was equally impressive in the contest.

The Kiwi’s pedigree in doubles has taken her to No 7 in the world rankings, with 5 titles to her name, including winning the US Open doubles title last year.

In their first tournament as a doubles partnership, Gauff & Routliffe find themselves just one win away from the Rome title.

Gauff’s regular partner, Jessica Pegula, was unable to play because of injury, so she joined forces with doubles specialist Routliffe, and the pair have combined well.

Thier win over China’s Wang & Zheng, though, was not easy, particularly in the topsy-turvy second set in which 10 of 12 games went against serve.

They went down 2-4 but fought their way back to a position where the 20-year old American served for the match at 5-4, and held a match point in that game, but she was unable to wrap up the win.

Routliffe then served for the match at 6-5, and also had a match point, but a Wang lob winner on the deciding point sent the set into a tiebreak.

Incredibly, the Chinese pair had won all 4 deciding points in the encounter, but, in the breaker, at the change of ends, Gauff & Routliffe were up 4-2, and an un-returnable smash followed by a formidable forehand from the American took them to 6-2, and match points.

Although Routliffe then went too long with a forehand, she put away the ball at the net on their 4th attempt to close out to clinch the win after an hour and 28 minutes.

Gauff is into her 2nd straight Rome final, and is attempting to go one better this year, having finished as runners-up with Pegula to Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens.

Errani Sara (L) & Paolini Jasmine delighted their home crowd by upsetting Caroline Dolehide & Desirae Krawczyk to make the doubles final on Sunday

© Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

They now face Sara Errani & Jasmine Paolini in the final, an unheralded home hero duo, who took down Caroline Dolehide & Sesirae Krawczyk, the American 8th seeds, with surprising ease, 6-1 6-2, in front of an ecstatic crowd.

The Italian pair needed only 60 minutes to seal the deal, winning 6 out of 8 return games, while only dropping serve once.

“It’s very special to be here in a final here in Rome with our crowd,” said Errani, who reached the WTA Doubles World No 1 ranking for the first time back in 2012. “We are very, very happy.

“I think we played a really good match. We spoke before [about] what to do, and we did it very well. Was quite perfect!”

Errani & Paolini are the first Italians to make the Rome women’s doubles final since Errani teamed with compatriot Roberta Vinci to make 3 straight finals between 2012 and 2014, winning the title in 2012.



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