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Routliffe, Gauff reach Italian Open final

Updated: May 18

New Zealand's Erin Routliffe and American Coco Gauff have combined to win their way into the Italian Open doubles final PHOTO: WTA

New Zealand's Erin Routliffe and American star Coco Gauff are into the final of the Italian Open in Rome after a straight-set victory over the Chinese team of Wang Xinyu and Zheng Saisai.

They won their semi-final 6-3 7-6 (3) in just under an hour and a half and in front of a big crowd on Centre Court.


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In the final, which will be played on Sunday, they will be up against the all-Italian team of Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini, who will no doubt have the crowd behind them.

But Routliffe and Gauff, who are the No 3 seeds, will go into that match on the back of yet another impressive performance and they’ve been a combination that clicked from the first moment they stepped on court together.

Gauff, the 2023 US Open singles champion, was strong around the court while Routliffe was also impressive and this result is expected to move her up to No 3 in the world rankings when they are next released.

In the first set in this semi-final, Gauff and Routliffe broke their opponents twice, while only suffering the same fate themselves once.

In the second set, Routliffe and Gauff were down 4-2 but fought their way back to a position where Gauff was serving for the match at 5-4.

However, she made a couple of uncharacteristic errors at the start of that game to go down 0-30 and she was eventually broken on a deciding point. Incredibly, the Chinese team won all four deciding points in the match.

But Routliffe ripped a winner down the line on the first of three break points she and Gauff had in the next game. So this time Routliffe served for the match, but once more the Kiwi/American team lost early points and were down 0-40.

Even though they got it back to 40-40 for their second match point, Wang hit an incredible lob when Routliffe and Gauff were both at the net, sending the set to a tiebreak.

At the change of ends, Routliffe and Gauff were up 4-2 and after the switch there were a couple of superb points from Gauff, hitting a smash that had no chance of coming back, then unleashing a forehand winner.

Although Routliffe went too long with a forehand at 6-2, she put away the ball at the net in the next point to clinch the victory.


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