Sunday featured an action-packed day of Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells doubles finals, headlined by two incredible all-American matchups. First up were the women, which saw Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend win their second WTA title of the year with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Catherine McNally and Jessica Pegula in front of a packed court.
The play was spectacular, with all four players playing nearly flawless tennis from all areas of the court, mixing up pace and spin and coming forward as often as possible.
“It was super competitive, we knew they were going to be a tough team,” said Townsend. “I think we adjusted really well. They return well and have a lot of change of pace. Jessica hits the ball flat and at your feet and Caty has more shape on the ball, hits kick serves and is very active at the net, so a team that gives no rhythm like that is hard to play. We had to continue to adjust and stay on our toes, because they kept mixing it up.”
Muhammad and Townsend continued to find solutions to neutralize the power and variety of their opponents, trying to chip and charge as often as possible to gain the advantage.
“We were sticking to the game plan,” said Muhammad. “And didn’t want to get stuck on the baseline with them. We know our game is really good when we’re coming forward and we stuck with that.”
Tied at 4-4 in both sets, Muhammad and Townsend dug deep to eke out each point and close out the match.
“It’s tough to close out sets and matches, but we did a good job,” said Muhammad. “We kept it one point at a time, not looking ahead. We were really positive and had good energy.”
The men’s doubles final was a nail-biter, coming down to the wire in a third-set tiebreaker. Wild cards Denis Kudla and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski emerged victorious over compatriots and fellow wild cards Sebastian Korda and Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 2-6, (10-6).
“Today and all week, I thought we returned really well,” said Kudla. “We complement each other’s game styles in doubles really well. He likes to come to the net and take over, and I like to stay back. Where one of us lacks in something, the other makes up for it. We work well together – we’re good friends which makes it a little bit easier when you can have a little bit of fun.”
After going up early in the first set, Kudla and Kwiatkowski were able to hold on to take it, before a resurgence by Korda and Krueger saw them take the second. Tensions were high, but the eventual champions managed emotions well as a duo.
“Denis does a really good job of picking me up when I’m down,” said Kwiatkowski. “I can get pretty upset on the court and Denis does a good job of making sure I’m staying positive and thinking about something to move us in the right direction. He did that in the second set. Even though we didn’t win it, he got me in a good mood so we could win it in the breaker.”