WASHINGTON, D.C., USA -- Teens are the queens of the Citi Open, as 17-year-old Catherine McNally and 15-year-old Coco Gauff notched each of their first WTA title by winning the doubles final over No.4 seeds Maria Sanchez of the United States and Fanny Stollar of Hungary, 6-2, 6-2.
"I thought this week was super good," said Gauff, in their post-match press conference. "Like we didn't even know we were playing together. Before the tournament we were lucky enough to get a wild card, and I'm glad that we were able to get that and we were able to take advantage of this opportunity."
The American teenagers, dubbed "McCoco," needed 65 minutes of play to take home the championship trophy after another superb performance. They claimed their first title in their first WTA event as a tandem -- similarly to how they won last year's US Open junior doubles title in their debut performance as a duo.
"It was pretty much a last-minute thing to play together," said McNally. "I was actually thinking about playing with someone else, and then once I knew that Coco was in, I decided to play with her. I just know that we're such a good doubles team, and we just have chemistry."
The victors won two-thirds of points on their services, while also winning 56 percent of points when returning. Gauff and McNally broke their opponents six times in the match, while only dropping serve twice.
McNally and Gauff romped to the title without dropping a set in the entire week. "I don't think we really looked at the scores," said McNally. "I think we just kind of worried about ourselves every single match and our game plan. I think we just executed it really well, and that's what the scores show."
After an early exchange of breaks to open the final, strong returning by Gauff in particular led the American youngsters to another break of service and a 4-2 lead, once Stollar finished off her service game with a backhand into the net on deciding point.
The unseeded pair cruised through the rest of the set, with McNally consolidating the break at love to reach 5-2, and claiming Sanchez's serve in the subsequent game after a blistering crosscourt backhand by Gauff forced a netted error from Sanchez.
The second set was a carbon copy of the first: after the teams exchanged breaks, Gauff and McNally again went up 4-2, after Stollar double faulted on break point. Two games later, Sanchez ended the encounter on deciding point with a double fault, and the American teenagers jumped for joy as the run to their first WTA title was complete.
"I think for me, and I think for both of us, [the title] means a lot," Gauff admitted. "Obviously we want to do well in singles, but I think we just love competing in general, so whether it's singles or doubles, we want to win no matter what. So I think that we really get as nervous as we do in doubles as we do in singles because we just want to make the other one proud."
McNally agreed, saying "it means so much to both of us, obviously. I got my first main draw WTA singles and doubles win, and I wasn't even thinking this far. I was just taking it match by match, and I'm so happy that we were able to get the title."
The duo is pleased they're inspiring a new generation of fans who are cheering them on. "We now have a new nickname, McCoco, so we've been hearing that a lot," said McNally. "Just to see other people looking up to us, that was me when I was younger looking up to other people, older players, so that just means a lot."
"It means a lot to me, as well, because I know how much the Williams sisters meant to me when I was younger coming in," Gauff added. "I'm just super grateful and blessed that I'm able to be put in that position and be given this platform, and I just hope that Caty and I just make the kids proud."
"Pretty much everything was surreal," noted McNally, who also contested her first WTA singles semifinal before falling to Camila Giorgi just hours before her doubles final. "I went into this tournament with zero expectation, so I mean, just how I did result-wise was surreal, and then just the support, every time we walked out on court it was packed stands, so much support."
Gauff and McNally will try to keep their run rolling at the US Open at the end of the summer, as they stated that they plan to play together at the year's final Grand Slam event as well, as wild-card entrants into either the main draw or qualifying.
If they do receive the US Open wild card, the teens are confident about their chances. "We can do whatever we want when we put our minds to it, so I'm not going to say, 'Oh, let's just see what happens,'" said Gauff.
"I think our goal is to win it, and I think we're not going to expect anything, we're just going to expect to play our best," Gauff continued. "But I'm not going to say let's see how far we can go, because I think, to be honest, the way we're playing, we can go as far as we want."