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Coco Gauff is a Grand Slam champion in singles and doubles, exceeding her own expectations


PARIS (AP) — Coco Gauff is a Grand Slam champion in singles and doubles, something she did not expect to happen so soon.

The 20-year-old American won her first major doubles title on Sunday by teaming with Katerina Siniakova for the French Open trophy. They defeated Italians Jasmine Paolini and Sara Errani 7-6 (5), 6-3, giving Gauff her second major after winning the U.S. Open singles last year.

“I think it’s just one of those things that when you least expect it to happen, it happens,” Gauff said, reflecting on her doubles triumph.

Victory finally came for Gauff in her third women’s doubles final, having been the runner-up in championship matches at Roland Garros in 2022 and the U.S. Open in 2021.

“After I lost the first two (doubles) finals, I thought, well, okay, I reached that point, maybe I should focus on singles,” Gauff said. "Same thing, U.S. Open. When I won it, I didn’t expect to win. I was having a really bad year. Then here, I didn’t even expect to play. I think it’s funny how life teaches you those lessons."

Gauff and Siniakova, who is from the Czech Republic, both kissed the Coupe Simonne Mathieu — the winners' trophy.

“Third time’s a charm. Thank you, Katerina, for playing with me. We decided two days before the tournament to play together,” Gauff said. "Thank you to the fans. I know 11:30 Sunday morning is early for most people. It’s early for me.”

The doubles final was held before the men's singles final later Sunday between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev.

“I would much rather play before the men’s final than after it, because that could go seven hours. 11:30 was fine. It was just a joke, because I don’t like waking up early," Gauff said. “I think it was good the tournament scheduled us before that match.”

Paolini was also the runner-up in the singles final at Roland Garros to four-time champion Iga Swiatek on Saturday. Swiatek beat Gauff in the singles semifinal.

“The last two weeks were very nice, very emotional,” Paolini said. “I have a lot of memories. I can’t wait to be back.”

Siniakova owns a career Slam in women's doubles alongside partner Barbora Krejcikova and has won eight majors — including the French Open in 2018 and 2021.

Errani also owns a career Slam in doubles alongside her former partner Roberta Vinci. The Italian pair won the French Open title in 2012 — the year Errani lost the singles final.

“It’s really special to be in this court again. I don’t know how many more years I have to play. But it’s always special to play these kinds of matches,” the 37-year-old Errani said. “It will be special to play the Olympics here in this place. So I’ll see you in one month.”

Paolini was playing in her first final in women's doubles.

Errani’s serve was broken twice in the first set, and Paolini stayed on the baseline to compensate in the 11th game. The tactic worked as Errani held serve.

Gauff and Siniakova took the first set when Errani’s volley at the net went long and raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set, with Paolini 0-30 down on her serve.

The Italians fought back to 4-3 with a service game to follow, but Errani’s serve was broken again and their momentum was lost. ___

AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis