For the moment, Jessica Pegula is officially the best multi-tasker among players on the Hologic WTA Tour.
When she and Coco Gauff defeated Sofia Kenin and Liudmila Samsonova 6-2, 7-6 (3) on Thursday night at the San Diego Open, an unusual double was achieved.
Pegula has now qualified for this month’s WTA Finals in Fort Worth in both singles and doubles.
“Yeah,” Pegula said afterward, “it’s awesome. I think that was a goal for both of us, to qualify for singles and doubles. So I’m glad we’re able to say that and achieve that goal. I’m really happy.”
The No.1 seeds converted four of eight break-point opportunities -- and saved eight of 10.
Gauff might soon join Pegula in both disciplines in Fort Worth. She’s currently No.4 in the Race to the WTA Finals standings for singles and can guarantee a spot by reaching the finals in San Diego. It’s a steep path; Gauff would have to beat World No.1 Iga Swiatek in Friday’s quarterfinals -- and either Madison Keys or Pegula in the semifinals. Gauff could also get in based on results from other players.
“It’s a huge achievement for me in both singles and doubles,” Pegula said. “And to do it with another American is really cool. I’m just super-happy. It’s paying off, all my hard work and all the matches I’ve played this year. It’s been a long year, and it’s just a great reward.”
Thursday’s doubles win was Pegula’s 90th match of the season. She’s now 35-16 in singles and 29-10 in doubles. She’s played nine events with Gauff (18-6), winning doubles titles in Doha and Toronto and reaching the finals at Roland Garros. Pegula has also played doubles with four other players. Pegula and Erin Routliffe won the title this summer at the Citi Open in Washington D.C.
Pegula qualified in singles earlier in the week with her first match in San Diego, a straight-sets victory against countrywoman CoCo Vandeweghe, where Pegula won 10 of the last 14 games.
Pegula backed that up with a win over another fellow American on Friday, taking out Madison Keys 6-4, 7-5 in their first meeting to make the semifinals.
Veronika Kudermetova could soon join Pegula. Elise Mertens and Kudermetova have already qualified in doubles. Kudermetova, meanwhile, is No.9 in the Race in singles, but effectively No.8 since Simona Halep is out for the season.
Caroline Garcia is No.5 in Race for singles and No.10 in doubles with Kristina Mladenovic. They will not be playing in Guadalajara but ultimately could be alternates.
Last year Barbora Krejcikova was the first player in five years to compete in both the year-end singles and doubles competitions. The 2021 French Open champion lost all three singles round-robin matches, to Anett Kontaveit, Garbiñe Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. Playing doubles with Katerina Siniakova, however, they won all five of their matches, including the final over Hsieh Su-Wei and Mertens.
Krejcikova and Siniakova, who won all three of the Grand Slam events they entered this year -- the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open -- were the first doubles team to qualify for Fort Worth. Krejcikova is No.20 in the singles race after winning in Ostrava a week ago.
For Pegula, 2022 began with disappointment -- back-to-back singles losses to Irina-Camelia Begu and Caroline Garcia.
“That’s the great thing about it,” Pegula said. “You start the year and you have no idea how it’s going to end up. I guess that’s the beauty of our sport. A lot of ups and downs and challenges along the way, but coming to the end of the year I’m feeling good.
“I’m happy with how I’ve faced all the challenges of the year, traveling, different surfaces, everything you could possibly imagine.”