No.8 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez fought their way into the GNP Seguros WTA Finals Cancun doubles final, defeating No.7 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe with a thrilling 6-1, 6-7(1), [10-6] win on Sunday.
In the upcoming final, Melichar-Martinez and Perez will face off against No.6 seeds Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva, who had impressive victories over the top two-seeded teams earlier in the day.
WTA Finals: Scores | Draws | Order of play
Siegemund and Zvonareva started the day by defeating No.1 seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula in a hard-fought 3-6, 6-4, [10-8] match to conclude group play. They continued their winning streak in the semifinals by triumphing over No.2 seeds Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens with a 3-6, 6-3, [10-5] victory.
In their previous encounter at the Washington D.C. quarterfinals, Siegemund and Zvonareva defeated Melichar-Martinez and Perez 6-4, 3-6, [10-6].
Back in a final: American Melichar-Martinez and Australia’s Perez are delighted to reach their fifth final of the year after their thrilling 1-hour and 37-minute semifinal win. Melichar-Martinez and Perez are eager to secure their first team title of 2023, as they had previously fallen short in all four of their team finals this year.
Melichar-Martinez and Perez had a chance to close out the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Dabrowski and Routliffe mounted a comeback, pushing the set into a tiebreak.
Dabrowski and Routliffe’s impressive returns allowed them to dominate the tiebreak and force a decisive 10-point match-tiebreak.
In the match-tiebreak, a remarkable forehand return winner down the line by Melichar-Martinez sparked a dominant stretch for her and Perez, as they built a commanding 7-2 lead. However, Dabrowski and Routliffe once again fought back, narrowing the gap to 7-6.
But this time, Melichar-Martinez and Perez refused to surrender. Perez delivered a powerful forehand return winner down the line, breaking the streak of points against them and taking an 8-6 lead. A strong return by Melichar-Martinez set up triple match point at 9-6, and she sealed the victory with a winning volley.
Siegemund and Zvonareva triumph in daytime matches: Later on Sunday, Siegemund and Zvonareva secured their spot in the final with a well-deserved 1-hour and 27-minute win over Hunter and Mertens.
This is Siegemund and Zvonareva’s fifth team final of the season, all of which have taken place in the past three months. They are now just one win away from capturing their fourth team title of the year, having already claimed victories in Washington D.C., Ningbo, and Nanchang.
Siegemund and Zvonareva were also runners-up at this year’s US Open, a title they won together in 2020, which happened to be their first event as partners. In that 2020 US Open final, they defeated Melichar-Martinez and her former partner, Xu Yifan.
In the second semifinal on Sunday, Mertens fired a remarkable forehand pass down the line to secure her team’s third service break of the day and clinch the first set.
However, Siegemund and Zvonareva responded with three service breaks of their own in the second set, leveling the match when Mertens double faulted on the fourth set point of the 5-3 game.
Siegemund and Zvonareva carried that momentum into the match-tiebreak, ultimately clinching a narrow victory. Although Hunter and Mertens delivered more winners, the victorious team had six fewer unforced errors than their opponents.
Despite the semifinal loss, Hunter will still claim the WTA Doubles World No.1 ranking and secure the year-ending No.1 position for the first time next week.
Siegemund and Zvonareva were not even in the semifinals at the start of the day. They began Sunday by narrowly defeating Gauff and Pegula in the final round-robin match of the week.
Due to inclement weather, play was suspended on Friday night with Gauff and Pegula leading 6-3, 1-1. Persistent rain forced the match to be concluded on Sunday.
Upon resumption, Siegemund and Zvonareva took control and eliminated the top seeds. This victory allowed them to finish group play with a 2-1 record and secure second place in the Mahahual Group, earning them a spot in the semifinals.
Jessica Roberts serves up the latest in the world of tennis. With a love for the racket sport, she reports on tennis matches, player rankings, and Grand Slam events, ensuring readers stay informed about the tennis world.