ROME, Italy - After their first tournament together, Ashleigh Barty and Demi Schuurs can call themselves champions.
Debuting their partnership this week in Rome, the eighth-seeded duo defeated second-seeded Czechs Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova, 6-3, 6-4 to raise the trophy at the Premier 5 event.
Needing to come from a set down in both their second round and quarterfinal matches, Barty and Schuurs pulled off another comeback to clinch the trophy in straight sets.
"This was a last-minute decision to play together," Barty said after the match. "I'm very happy that Demi sent me a message and asked me to play. It's a bonus to get matches and to come away with a title is a cherry on top."
Having won the opener from an early break down, the Australian-Dutch pair won the last six games of the match to stun the No.2 seeds in one hour and 15 minutes.
"It was a tough match - they played good and we started good, hanging in the whole set," Schuurs said. "In the second set, we had some chances in the first game, but we were 4-0 down, and we talked to each other like, 'Just keep going, point-by-point.' I'm really happy."
Barty added: "In this format, you're never really out of it. It could've very easily been 2-0 up for us in the second set. I think it was important for us to keep chipping away. We knew that when you have a lead and it gets tight, you start to feel it a bit more. It was a very good comeback in the second set, but I think a very clean match overall."
The win is the biggest title of her career so for Schuurs, who has played primarily with Belgian Elise Mertens and compatriot Kiki Bertens this season, after winning the Premier-level event in Brisbane with Bertens to open the season.
It is also the second title of Barty's season following the retirement of long-time partner Casey Dellacqua, after she and CoCo Vandeweghe triumped at the Premier Mandatory event in Miami.
Though the pair raised the trophy this week, it might be a one-off at least for the near future as they'll return to their regularly-scheduled partnerships in the week to come at Roland Garros.
Barty will return to play with Vandeweghe at the year's second Grand Slam, while Schuurs will reunite with Mertens, who pulled out of Rome after sustaining a bacterial infection.
"In Paris, I'll play with Elise. I played in the last few tournaments with her, but she withdrew here and that's why I asked Ash," Schuurs said. "I'm happy that we won the title here!"