GUADALAJARA, Mexico – They were a longshot at best, an unseeded team that needed to go deep into the Guadalajara Open doubles draw – and also hope that a few other things fell their way.
But Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia, who teamed up by almost by chance at the start of 2022, did it the hard way.
First they defeated Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula. And on Saturday they upset the No. 1 doubles team in the world, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, to squeeze past Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez and grab the last of the eight spots for the doubles at the WTA Finals.
Not only that, they’re also in the finals of a WTA 1000 tournament on Sunday.
The two won their first tournament together, in Sydney. Then they reached the Australian Open final, where they were beaten by the Czechs.
During the season, they definitely had their ups and downs. The results didn’t always come.
Until they came this week.
Nervy Final Week
There were nerves all week, on both the singles and doubles sides, as so many spots in Fort Worth were still up for grabs.
But the most nervous on Saturday might well have been Melichar-Martinez and Perez, who lost a tight one in the second round in Guadalajara and therefore no longer held their fate in their own hands.
Ons Jabeur was not unaware.
Even the on-court interviewer appeared unaware of what the stakes were, as he made no mention of it in the on-court interview after a clutch victory over the Czechs.
Of course, both Krejcikova/Siniakova and Gauff/Pegula are already qualified for the finals. And so they would well meet again in Texas.
Here’s what they had to say afterwards.
Notably, Haddad Maia – who had to serve a 10-month suspension for contaminated supplements, then the pandemic, and basically had to start her career over from scratch – is now in the top 20 in both singles and doubles.
Both will be in the top 15 after this week. Depending on how things shake out, Danilina could even jump into the top 10.
The fans thought they were pretty great. And Haddad Maia, who is increasingly becoming higher profile in South America, certainly had some fans calling her by her nickname, “Bia”, during the match.