No.1 seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula came back from deficits in both sets to edge unseeded Marta Kostyuk and Elena-Gabriela Ruse 7-5, 7-6(5) in the Mutua Madrid Open semifinals on Friday.
Gauff and Pegula have extended their winning streak to nine straight matches by holding off Ukraine's Kostyuk and Ruse of Romania in a 1-hour and 46-minute rollercoaster. With the win, the all-American duo advances to their second straight WTA 1000 final.
In Sunday's doubles final, Gauff and Pegula will meet the first-time pairing of Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia. Azarenka and Haddad Maia bested fellow unseeded team Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend 6-4, 0-6, [10-6] in the late semifinal.
Into their third final of 2023 🔒— wta (@WTA) May 5, 2023
Top seeds @CocoGauff & @JLPegula defeat Kostyuk/Ruse to make it to the @MutuaMadridOpen championship match!
Await Azarenka/Haddad Maia or Fernandez/Townsend on Sunday 🔜 pic.twitter.com/7cpSNIRuEL
Gauff and Pegula took the title at the most recent WTA 1000 event at the Miami Open on hard court (defeating Fernandez and Townsend in the final), but this is their first tournament on clay this season. The pair saved eight of 13 break points before notching the semifinal win on Friday.
Kostyuk and Ruse were up a double-break on two separate occasions in the first set, at 3-0 and 5-2, but Kostyuk was unable to serve out the set. Gauff and Pegula pulled their way back to level footing at 5-5 with key service winners in their next two trips to the line.
At 6-5, a crushing Pegula crosscourt return winner gave her team their first set point, where they forced a wide Kostyuk rally error to win their fifth consecutive game and steal the first set.
Gauff and Pegula were down a break at 2-1 and 4-3 in the second set as well, before clawing back on serve each time. Kostyuk and Ruse saved two match points at 6-5 and took an early 2-0 lead in the tiebreak, but the No.1 seeds stayed steadier down the stretch to wrap up the win.
Gauff and Pegula are now a victory away from capturing their third team title of the season (along with Doha and Miami) and their sixth doubles title as a pairing overall.
First doubles of the year ✅— victoria azarenka (@vika7) April 27, 2023
First doubles win of the year ✅
We had fun w/ Bia ✅ pic.twitter.com/ENuvNOWzmi
Later in the day, Azarenka and Haddad Maia continued a stirring run through their first event as doubles partners. Azarenka and Haddad Maia notched a 1-hour and 20-minute semifinal victory over Fernandez and Townsend, which finished after midnight local time.
Azarenka and Haddad Maia were down a double-break at 3-0 in the opening frame before charging back to take the one-set lead. Fernandez and Townsend countered by sweeping through the second set, but Azarenka and Haddad Maia built a 6-1 lead in the match-tiebreak, then held on from there on to prevail.