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Gauff, Pegula to meet Garcia, Mladenovic in French Open doubles final

Coco Gauff will play for two Grand Slam titles this weekend. The 18-year-old paired with compatriot Jessica Pegula to win their Roland Garros women’s doubles semifinal on Friday, besting another all-American team of Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend 6-4, 7-6(4).

No.8 seeds Gauff and Pegula will face 2016 champions Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in the final. French hopes Garcia and Mladenovic upended No.14 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

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For the second French Open in a row, a player will be in both the singles and women’s doubles finals. Gauff made her first Grand Slam singles final on Thursday by defeating Martina Trevisan in the semifinals.

Last year, Barbora Krejcikova won her first Grand Slam singles title on Saturday, then teamed with Katerina Siniakova to capture the doubles title on Sunday.

On Court Suzanne Lenglen on Friday, Gauff and Pegula claimed the only break of the first set off of Keys’s serve at 2-2. With a set in hand, Gauff and Pegula never dropped serve through 4-4 in the second set, where they broke the Townsend delivery on the fourth break point of that game.

But with Pegula serving for the match at 5-4, Keys saved a match point by firing a blistering backhand winner down the line. Keys and Townsend went on to earn their first break on their fifth break point of that game, tying the set at 5-5.

However, in the tiebreak, one brilliant backhand each by Gauff and Pegula gave them an early 2-0 lead, and the No.8 seeds finished off the 95-minute victory from there. The Gauff/Pegula tandem are 4-0 in tiebreaks in 2022.

Both Gauff and Pegula are seeking a first Grand Slam doubles title, and for Pegula, it is her first trip to a Grand Slam final in any discipline.

Gauff is into her second Grand Slam doubles final in her last three majors. She and Caty McNally were runners-up to Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai at last year’s US Open.

Despite the loss, Keys and Townsend posted an excellent showing this fortnight. Keys reached her first Grand Slam doubles semifinal, while 2020 US Open doubles semifinalist Townsend had a stellar first Grand Slam event back since giving birth to her son Adyn in March 2021.

In the second semifinal, a 2-hour rain delay occurred immediately after Garcia and Mladenovic leveled the match at one set apiece. Upon resumption, the French duo broke Kichenok for a 2-1 lead, helped along by clutch volleys by Garcia.

Serving for the match at 5-2, Mladenovic saved a break point in that game with a superb backhand passing winner. Mladenovic eventually closed out that game, sending her squad into another Roland Garros doubles final.

Garcia and Mladenovic were WTA Doubles Team of the Year and ITF World Champions for 2016, the season they won Roland Garros. But this is only the fourth competition they have played together since February of 2017.

Garcia and Mladenovic paired up for last year’s Olympics, and they have re-teamed for both of this year’s Grand Slam events. After a second-round loss at the Australian Open, they are a win away from their second Roland Garros title as a team.

Mladenovic has won the Roland Garros women’s doubles title two other times as well, alongside Timea Babos in 2019 and 2020.


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