With wishes from Michelle Obama, Gauff going for a sweep

American teen reaches the final in singles and doubles and hopes to walk away with two trophies this weekend

Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, demi-finales, double dames, Roland-Garros 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Coco Gauff is so tuned into business mode that she didn’t pick up on a pretty significant message of support that was sent her way on social media.

The teenager is vying for a singles and doubles clean sweep at Roland-Garros.

Gauff and her partner Jessica Pegula booked their ticket to the women’s doubles final by posting a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over fellow Americans Madison Keys and Taylor Townsend on Saturday; less than 24 hours after Gauff had reached a maiden Grand Slam singles final with victory over Martina Trevisan.

Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, the 2016 Roland-Garros champions, completed the final quartet by reeling in 14th seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a close last-four showdown that was interrupted by rain.

Overnight, former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted, “Congrats Coco Gauff, I’m so proud of you, and I will be rooting for you all the way!”

“Oh my gosh, you ignored Michelle Obama?” joked Pegula.

Gauff explained: “She posted me on Instagram Stories two weeks ago for my graduation, but I didn’t see this.

“It’s hard not to know people like that are watching, but I still think it’s pretty crazy. It’s pretty cool she’s still keeping track of me.”

For Pegula, Sunday represents a maiden major final across all disciplines.

“It feels awesome. We’re super pumped that Coco is in both finals. It’s pretty amazing and not easy to do,” said the 28-year-old, who fell to Iga Swiatek in the singles quarter-finals on Wednesday.

“I’m glad we were able to step up the last couple weeks, played really solid, played some tough teams, especially today, so very happy we’re through.”

Chatting about things other than tennis at changeovers, Gauff is enjoying the element of fun alongside Pegula.

Riding a wave of supreme form and locked into battle, the singles world No.23 also missed a couple of special guests in the stands – both of her brothers.

“Yeah they surprised me, I haven’t seen them yet, they just showed up,” said Gauff of her younger brothers, Codey and Cameron.

“I had a feeling as I can tell when my parents are trying to hide something. I didn’t know if it was because they were nervous and I didn’t notice until the second or third game in the first set.

“I looked up to the box because I’d missed a shot. I was like, ‘Is that my brother?’ I’m very happy that I can experience this with my brothers. I haven’t seen them really since Miami."

Pegula, rooting for her compatriot to lift both trophies this weekend, knew from her very first impression of Gauff that she had witnessed a star in the making.

“I think I first saw you in Boca Raton (Florida, USA) during practice. I was working with Jessie Levine and he said, ‘That’s Coco Gauff, she’s 15’,” recalled Pegula.

Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia, Roland Garros 2022, women's doubles semi-finals© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

“I couldn’t believe it, ‘She’s 15?’ I remember thinking she’s going to be pretty good.

“Obviously her athleticism sets her apart, which is great for me in our doubles. I know if I hit a couple of good shots, she’s always going to be in the point with her movement and speed, the way she can move around the net and all over the court.

"Her serve, it was so good even when I saw her so young.”

The crowd will understandably be backing the French duo of Garcia and Mladenovic, which Pegula believes will add to the occasion on Sunday.

“They have won it before, so they obviously have a lot of chemistry and can play really well together. They're good singles players too, which makes it extra tough, so it will be interesting," Pegula said.

“They’ll definitely be favourites, but at least it will be a good atmosphere. We’ll be ready.”