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Italian Open 2024: Jessica Pegula’s Unfortunate Exit Prompts Partner Coco Gauff to Pick 29-YO WTA Star as Doubles Partner

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The 2024 Olympics was the dream. When 2023 ended, it seemed as if Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula would be unconquerable next year. But Pegula’s shock Australian Open exit in January 2024 supposedly made her pull out of the doubles as well. Pegula had already hinted that the Paris Olympics might be their last doubles event, with Gauff wanting to focus on her singles game by 2025. With the latest tournament update, is the writing on the wall?

After skipping the Madrid Open and Stuttgart Open, Jessica Pegula withdrew from the Italian Open due to persistent injuries. This has prompted Gauff to save her doubles career by partnering with a name from New Zealand, 29-year-old Erin Routliffe, per reports. While the All-American duo has rarely partnered with others, Gauff seems determined to commit to her doubles career for as long as possible.

Although the Miami Open and Charleston Open cut her a break, Pegula has struggled with her form and injuries this year. By the time Madrid came around, she announced her withdrawal stating that she had gotten hurt before the tournament began. While no more details were given, the World No. 5 now continues the recovery period through the Italian Open. Coco Gauff, meanwhile, is forging ahead despite not having the best luck in singles herself. She did recently excel though, in a doubles match-up with Taylor Townsend.

With a victory over Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Stands, the American duo cut a formidable figure at the Madrid Open reaching the quarterfinals. Now with Erin Routliffe, who ranks 6 in doubles, can Gauff aim higher than the Italian Open if Pegula fails to show up by the summer?

Together, Pegula and Gauff have won 5 WTA titles. Not only that, but the duo has also reached the French Open final in 2022 and achieved a ranking of number one and number two in doubles. Last year at the Italian Open they finished as runner-ups, however, this time Gauff will have Routliffe, who has already reached the career-high doubles ranking of world number 5 just about two months ago. Routliffe also captured her maiden Grand Slam title with Gabriela Dabrowski at last year’s US Open.

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