Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova completed a week full of comebacks by winning the Internazionali BNL d'Italia doubles title on Sunday. The unseeded duo topped No.2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos, 1-6, 6-4, [10-7].
Playing only their second event as a duo, Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova shook off the quick opening set and prevailed in 1 hour and 15 minutes, ending the seven-match winning streak by last week's WTA 1000 Madrid champions Dabrowski and Olmos.
Kudermetova's fourth career title on the Hologic WTA Tour cements her status as one of the top doubles players in the world. Currently ranked No.4, Kudermetova had reached four WTA 1000 doubles finals over the past year, but this is at last her first WTA 1000 title.
This marks Pavlyuchenkova's sixth career doubles title and her first since she won 2017 Sydney alongside Timea Babos over five years ago.
Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova's title well outpaces the result from their lone previous appearance as a team, when they reached the quarterfinals at 2020 Prague.
The champions had to make it through multiple close calls to even get into this week's final. In their first round, they saved a match point before defeating No.8 seeds and WTA 1000 Doha champions Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula.
Then in the semifinals, Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova were forced to save three match points before overcoming No.3 seeds and Madrid runners-up Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs.
A similar come-from-behind scenario was forced to play out after Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova quickly lost the first set of Sunday's final. Dabrowski and Olmos were superb at net to start, reeling off seven games in a row to grab the opening frame and an early break in the second set.
However, big hitting by Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova turned the tide, as they broke serve twice in a row to take a 4-2 lead. Dabrowski and Olmos got back level at 4-4, but Kudermetova and Pavlyuchenkova eked out the second set with a powerful backhand crosscourt winner by Pavlyuchenkova on set point.
A tight match-tiebreak was cracked open by Pavlyuchenkova, who deployed a winning lob to lead 8-6, then fired a passing winner to garner double championship point at 9-6. An unreturned serve by Kudermetova sealed the match two points later, denying Dabrowski and Olmos a second consecutive WTA 1000 title.