CINCINNATI, Ohio -- When Alycia Parks got an impromptu text from Taylor Townsend asking if she would be up for doubles at the Western & Southern Open, she was stunned.
"When she texted me, I was down," Parks told WTA Insider. "Let's sign up. I'm dropping whoever I signed with."
"I've always wanted to play with Taylor. First match, I was tight. I'm like, Taylor is the double specialist and I am tight out here."
Townsend's world-class net game and Parks' powerful serve and groundstrokes, the American duo tore through an incredibly tough draw to win their first tournament together. Unseeded for the week, Parks and Townsend reeled off four consecutive wins over Top 5 seeds to net their first WTA 1000 titles.
"From our first match, my hitting partner said, 'Watch them win the tournament,'" Townsend said. "I know the type of players that I play really well with and it's someone with a good serve and has great weapons from the baseline that can set me up at the net.
"So from the beginning, we realized that our games complemented each other very well. We get along off the court and on the court. It just flowed very well."
Parks said she had never had a doubles partner as chatty as Townsend. She loved it.
"She's coaching me in the changeovers and I never had that," Parks said. "So for me to understand that from her, that's what I'm going to take into my doubles. Hopefully we can play again."
Townsend is one of the best doubles players in the game, but the 27-year-old came into the week still chasing a big title. She had already pocketed two titles this season with two different partners, but Townsend and Leylah Fernandez, her regular partner, took two tough losses in the finals at Miami and Roland Garros.
Townsend says those experiences helped her in Cincinnati, where she felt she handled the occasion of a big final far better than in the past. Her nerves were no different, but this time she was able to find a way to turn the match around.
"It feels great to know that I can play with just about anybody and know that I can win no matter who's with me and who's on the other side of the net, because Alycia and I had a very tough draw," Townsend said. "It really doesn't matter who's on the other side of the net.
"I really know and I believe that I have whatever it takes to win these types of tournaments. I know everyone else sees it, but it's always good to get the trophy to put the stamp on it."