MIAMI -- No.2 seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula engineered back-to-back comebacks to advance to their second final of the season at the Miami Open. The American duo will face unseeded Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend in Sunday's final.
With rain delays wreaking havoc on the doubles schedule, Gauff and Pegula were faced with playing the possibility of playing both the quarterfinal and semifinal on Friday. The American duo stepped up to the challenge, defeating No.6 seeds Elise Mertens and Storm Hunter 6-7(4), 7-5, [10-2] in the quarterfinals and No.8 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in the semifinals.
Gauff and Pegula began their day of double duty with the resumption of their quarterfinal against Mertens and Hunter. The match resumed with the Americans down 3-1 in the first set. While Mertens and Hunter were able to fend off a set point to take the opening set, Gauff and Pegula stormed back to seal the win in the match tie-break.
The DREAM TEAM 🇺🇸@CocoGauff & @JLPegula stage a brilliant comeback to defeat Hunter/Mertens 6-7(4), 7-5, [10-2] and will now face Melichar-Martinez/Perez for a place in the final later today!#MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/IgaQlyN5DL— wta (@WTA) March 31, 2023
After a brief rest, the No.2 seeds retook the court for the semifinals against Melichar-Martinez and Perez. Again, Gauff and Pegula found themselves down in the scoreline. A late break gave Melichar-Martinez a chance to serve out the first set at 6-5, but the American could not on either of her set points.
A big return from Gauff saved Set Point No.1 at 6-5, 40-30 and Melichar-Martinez double-faulted on Set Point No.2 to lose the game and take the set to a tiebreak, which Gauff and Pegula won.
Melichar-Martinez and Perez again led by a break in the second set, building a seemingly insurmountable lead at 5-2. But the resilient American duo, who won their first title of the season last month in Doha, proceeded to reel off three straight games and level the set at 5-5. Into a tiebreak once again, Gauff and Pegula played a more controlled tiebreak to seal the win.
Miami final calling ☎️@CocoGauff & @JLPegula pull off double duty in the 305 to reach the showpiece! #MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/3zyX0ui243— wta (@WTA) March 31, 2023
Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend enjoyed their own dramatic comeback under the lights of Stadium Court to seal a spot in their first team final. Fernandez and Townsend rallied from a set down and saved match point in the match-tiebreak to defeat Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera 1-6, 6-2, [14-12] in the second semifinal.
Playing in their second tournament together after bowing out to eventual champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the second round of Indian Wells, Fernandez and Townsend have mounted a strong campaign in Miami. En route to the first WTA 1000 final for either player, Fernandez and Townsend defeated Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, No.7 seeds Giuliana Olmos and Beatriz Haddad Maia, and No.3 seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko before ousting Linette and Pera just before midnight on Friday night.
Already a champion twice this season, having won Adelaide 1 and 2 with Asia Muhammad and Luisa Stefani, respectively, Townsend is bidding to win her third title of the season and the biggest of her career. Fernandez is into the second doubles final of her career, having advanced to her first in January with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in Auckland.