American teenager Coco Gauff has always enjoyed playing doubles and, on Sunday in Toronto, she and her compatriot, Jessica Pegula, took home the doubles trophy at the National Bank Open.
That would be pretty cool. We were close at French Open. But I don’t want to put any pressure on ourselves [at the US Open]. I think we play the best when we just take it one match at a time, and one point at a time. Coco Gauff
The 19-year old also captured the World No 1 doubles ranking along with her Canadian WTA 1000 title, becoming the 46th player to hold the top spot in Monday’s latest listings.
“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.
“As a kid, I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t even know there was separate rankings for singles and doubles, but when I got on tour, and when I realised I could do well in doubles, yes, I wanted to.
“I mean, who wouldn’t want to be No 1 in anything?”
Gauff will move up from 6th to displace Belgian Elise Mertens at the top of rankings, on the back of victory over Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez in Sunday’s final, 6-4 6-7(5) [10-5].
The 18-year-old is the second youngest player to top the women’s doubles rankings after Martina Hingis, who achieved the feat in 1998 at the age of 17.
Doubles rankings were introduced on 10 September, 1984, and Gauff has achieved the top ranking at 18 years and 154 days old, while Hingis was 17 and 251 days when she clinched the top spot in June of 1998.
For Gauff & Pegula, it was their second title at a WTA 1000 tournament this season, with their first coming in February when they won the Qatar TotalEnergies Open in Doha together.
Gauff has had several other stand-out results in doubles over the past 12 months, including reaching 2 Grand Slam finals with Caty McNally at the US Open in 2021, and earlier this season at Roland Garros, with Pegula.
The teenager also reached the final at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart alongside partner Zhang Shuai from China.
No 3 seeds Gauff & Pegula had to go down to the wire before winning Sunday’s final.
After falling behind 3-0, the American pair excelled on return, winning 6 of the next 7 games to take the one-set lead.
America’s Melichar-Martinez & Perez from Australia held firm in the second, saving 3 championship points at 5-4, and then 3 more at 6-5 before the unseeded pair grabbed the breaker after a Perez backhand return winner found the baseline.
In the decisive match tiebreak, bold net play by Perez led her team back from 2-6 down to 6-5 up, but Gauff & Pegula stayed solid, and a volley winner from Gauff gave them a 7th championship point at 9-5.
A Pegula forehand forced an error to clinch the title, as well as the World No 1 ranking for Gauff.
Pegula has also had a break-through season in doubles and Toronto marks her 4th career doubles title, her 3rd this season, and her 2nd in two weeks, having won the title in Washington, DC last week alongside Erin Routliffe.
Already a Top 10 singles player, Pegula will make her Top 10 debut in the doubles rankings on Monday.
“I’m so glad that I could help [Gauff] get there today,” Pegula said. “I think we’re No 1 in the Race and the top two Americans in singles.
“So it’s been a pretty cool little journey that we’re on together, even though I’m ten years older,” she added with a laugh.
Gauff & Pegula have confirmed they will pair up for the rest of the season, as and when their schedules allow, which includes the US Open later this month, where they will be looking to become the first all-American team to win the women’s doubles title at Flushing Meadows since Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond in 2011.
“That would be pretty cool,” said Gauff, who lost in the US Open final with McNally last year. “We were close at French Open.
“But I don’t want to put any pressure on ourselves. I think we play the best when we just take it one match at a time, and one point at a time.”
A quarter-final loss at the hands of eventual champion Simona Halep in Toronto means Gauff will drop in the singles rankings from her career-high position of 11 to No 12 on Monday.