19/04/2024

Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang claimed their second Grand Slam Title together at the US Open. Photo: US Open - Twitter

Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang have overcome teenage duo of Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally to win the 2021 US Open Women's Doubles title.

Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang have won their second Grand Slam Title together in a three-set thriller against teenage American duo Coco Gauff and Catherine McNally.

It’s been a long journey for Stosur to reach the US Open Final in the Women’s Doubles, previously winning the 2005 title. It was the Australian’s fourth Women’s Doubles Grand Slam Title and her eighth Grand Slam title in any discipline.

Meanwhile, it was Zhang’s second Grand Slam title of her career across all disciplines.

Experience trumps youth

Stosur was first up to serve in the final, losing the first point to a winner before winning the next four points to hold serve.

A similar pattern followed in the next three games with all players holding serve with ease but managing to lose a singular point.

This was broken in Stosur’s second service game giving up a second point to a double fault but she quickly responded with a forehand winner that McNally misjudged the length of.

Stosur and Zhang were offered the first break point opportunity of the match on Gauff’s serve, the American duo managed to save the break point with three winners keeping them on serve.

Errors gradually began to mount for the youngsters with the pair losing seven points to unforced errors to Stosur and Zhang’s one by the eighth game.

McNally’s second service game was out to a flying start with the American duo leading 40-0 as Gauff dominated at the net, but the combination of Stosur and Zhang chipped away at the lead to bring the game to deuce before hitting two winners to take the break.

With momentum dramatically shifting in the previous game, Stosur managed to serve out the set in a two-minute game.

Both had an incredibly clean first set on serve with Stosur and Zhang winning 16 of their 18 points from first serve, serving at 72 per cent for the set.

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The Americans were undeterred from the loss of the first set, with Gauff serving out the first game of the second set 40-0, sealing it with a down the line ace.

But Stosur responded with a similar first service game, not giving up a single point and Zhang hitting shots at the net that escaped McNally’s reach.

For the third time for the match, a break point opportunity was offered in McNally’s service game, repeated errors brought the younger pair back into the game ultimately preventing the early break.

Gauff and McNally were offered their first chance to break in Zhang’s first service game of the second set, but the game was quickly brought back to deuce followed by a handy winner from Stosur at the net gave the experienced pair the edge and managed to hold serve.

For the fourth consecutive McNally service game, Stosur and Zhang earned themselves a break point opportunity, this time from a McNally double fault, initially unable to convert the game went to deuce three times with the Americans able to save the game with a tight rally at the net.

The Americans came out firing in the next game, earning multiple break point opportunities but struggled to convert, it wasn’t until the third chance that they broke and took the lead for the first time in the match.

It was Gauff’s turn to serve for the set and it only took two set point opportunities for the Americans to close out the set.

The youngsters looked like they had momentum on their side at the start of the final set, winning the first two points, but Stosur and Zhang were quickly back in the game, winning the next four points.

Once again it was back and forth between the two pairs early in the third set with both comfortably winning their respective service games only sacrificing one or two points.

McNally’s serve was put under pressure again in the fourth game, Stosur and Zhang were only able to get one break point opportunity but the game stretched out to nine minutes going to deuce five times.

Stosur kept the pair on serve in the next game, winning another game 40-0. Gauff responded with an equally dominant service game, defending at the net with McNally to not drop a point in the game.

Gauff and McNally were offered two break point opportunities in Zhang’s service game, but an ace from Zhang followed by a forced error saved the two breaks, and a winner from Stosur at McNally’s feet followed by a return forehand error sent the game the way of the experienced pair.

Now it was Stosur and Zhang’s turn to attempt to convert two break points on McNally’s serve, it only took one with another Stosur shot that was misjudged by Gauff.

It was up to Stosur to serve for the title, neither team wanted to make an error with the first four points coming from winners to bring the game to 30 apiece.

A forced forehand error earned Stosur and Zhang their first championship point, but the Americans weren’t going down quietly bringing the game to deuce with a lob from Gauff. However, all too soon it was match point again and a wide shot skipped off Gauff’s racquet sealing the match for the veteran duo.

https://twitter.com/WTA/status/1437131302906564611?s=20
Sam Stosur/Shuai Zhang [14]636
Coco Gauff/Catherine McNally [11]363

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