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December 6, 2022

Source: indianexpress.com

The 28-year-old Pegula is No. 3 in the singles rankings, the 18-year-old Gauff is No. 4, and the two Americans are making their WTA Finals debuts in both singles and doubles this week.

Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula were born a decade apart, which does not matter so much when it comes to playing tennis together but definitely creates a barrier when the subject is TikTok.

“We don’t really notice the age difference until certain conversations come up,” Gauff said. “It’s definitely a generation divide.” Joked Pegula: “She keeps me young.”

The 28-year-old Pegula is No. 3 in the singles rankings, the 18-year-old Gauff is No. 4, and the two Americans are making their WTA Finals debuts in both singles and doubles this week.

No other doubles pairing also has participated in the singles competition at the season-ending tournament for the best of the best in women’s tennis since sisters Serena and Venus Williams managed to do that in 2009 (Serena beat Venus in the singles final that year).

Pegula, who is from New York and now based in Florida, was set for a full day of work as the event began on the temporary indoor hard court at Dickies Arena on Monday. She lost to Maria Sakkari 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) in round-robin play in singles, then was scheduled to join Gauff, a Floridian, to take on the Chinese duo of Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan in doubles at night to close out Day 1.

Gauff and Pegula briefly paired up in 2021, going 0-2, before really thriving in doubles in 2022, collecting three titles and finishing as the runners-up at the French Open in June. Gauff reached No. 1 in the doubles rankings in August and is currently No. 2, one spot ahead of Pegula.

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The comfort level with each other on the court and “irl,” as the kids say — “in real life” for the uninformed — is much better than when Gauff brings social media slang into the discussion.

Particularly if the references come from TikTok, a video-sharing app.

“She’ll look at me and say, What?!’ I’m like, You’ve never seen that?’ She’s like, No,’” Gauff explained.

“Then,” she added, “it becomes awkward.” Until Gauff pulls out her cellphone to demonstrate what she’s talking about, “and then it will make sense,” she said.

Pegula, whose most recent match was a victory over Sakkari in the final of the Guadalajara Open on Oct. 23, called it “a reward and a confidence boost for me” to be in the fields open to only eight singles players and eight doubles teams.

Gauff is the youngest American to qualify for the WTA Finals since 1994 and thinks the accomplishment “just shows my improvement.” “I busted onto the scene in a very big way, and a lot of people were having opinions on whether or not I would do well or not,” said Gauff, who made her Grand Slam debut by reaching Wimbledon’s fourth round at age 15. “This just proves that all the work that I’ve put in is paying off. Obviously I want to go further.” They recently became the first two U.S. women in the top four of the singles rankings at the same time since the Williams siblings in 2010.

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