Alycia Parks and Taylor Townsend completed a dream week at the Western & Southern Open with a late-night victory, edging No.3 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez 6-7(1), 6-4, [10-6] to win the Cincinnati doubles title.
The unseeded all-American pairing of Parks and Townsend clinched the come-from-behind victory in 1 hour and 35 minutes, finishing the match just after midnight on Sunday morning.
"I’m really the most proud of the way that we problem-solved and the way that we controlled our energy, and just really put everything into the match," Townsend said, after the final. "I think we both left it all out there."
The result marks the first WTA 1000 title for both 27-year-old Townsend and 22-year-old Parks. Overall, it is the fourth career WTA doubles title for Townsend, and the second for Parks.
Parks and Townsend paired up for the very first time this week, and they proved to be successful upset artists the entire way through the draw.
The champions beat four of the Top 5-seeded teams consecutively to take the crown: No.5 Kichenok/Ostapenko in the second round, No.4 Krawczyk/Schuurs in the quarterfinals, No.2 Hunter/Mertens in the semifinals and No.3 Melichar-Martinez/Perez in the final.
"I’m really proud of the way that we were able to work together," Townsend said. "I think we’ve done something better every single match. We’ve had a really tough draw to get this title."
Parks added: "I really enjoyed playing with Taylor, she has always been my dream doubles partner. ... She’s a very great teammate [and] person."
Melichar-Martinez of the United States and Australia's Perez finish runner-up in Cincinnati for the second season in a row. The duo has reached three WTA 1000 finals in just over a year, but they are still searching for their first WTA 1000 title.
There were no break points for either team in the first set, as they sped through their service games into the tiebreak. Melichar-Martinez and Perez dominated the breaker, racing out to an early 4-0 lead before taking it 7-1 after 45 minutes.
Melichar-Martinez and Perez garnered the first break point of the match at 2-1 in the second set, but Townsend escaped that service game with a hold.
In the following game, Parks and Townsend earned their first break points of the day, and Townsend cracked a backhand return winner down the line to notch the first break by either team. Parks and Townsend kept that advantage through the remainder of the second set.
In the decisive match-tiebreak, Parks fired a backhand down-the-line winner for 6-4, and Townsend bolstered their lead with a winning putaway for 7-4. A netted Melichar-Martinez return gave Parks and Townsend triple match point at 9-6, and Parks converted their first chance with a blistering service return.