3 out of 4! That’s the number of titles Gemma Triay and Ale Salazar have won at the start of the season. In the final of the Paraguay Open they managed to overcome Ari Sanchez and Paula Josemaria in two tie breaks, in a new battle (the 20th) of this thrilling saga of matches that both pairings have become accustomed to.
After the final in Abu Dhabi, the first tournament of the season, two events had gone by without both pairings meeting in the final. Ari and Paula were going through a small slump, which was taken advantage of by Gemma and Ale, who after last night’s match have now won three consecutive titles and 11 straight victories.
Both pairings played at a very high level, with Ari and Paula being the first to break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. That break was a turning point for Gemma and Ale, who turned the score around in a formidable manner, taking advantage of two golden points in the sixth and seventh games to put some distance on the scoreboard. Triay was huge at the net and caused problems for her opponents.
At 5-2 up, it looked like the number 1’s had it all wrapped up. They even had a set point in the ninth game with another golden point, but this time it was the number 2 pairing who took it and broke. There were no more breaks, and it went to sudden death, which would go to Gemma and Ale by 7-4.
In the second set, the script seemed very similar to the first. The player from Menorca and the player from Madrid broke in the third game and had a chance to do the same in the fifth game, but they didn’t take advantage. They went from being two breaks up to losing all the advantage they had gained. Ari and Paula brought the score back to level terms by breaking their opponents’ serve in the eighth game to make it 4-4.
Another tiebreak was expected, and there was one, but before that, Gemma and Ale took the lead again with another break in the eleventh game. They had two match balls in their hands, but Ari and Paula ended up forcing another tiebreak, which could have gone to either pairing. However, Gemma Triay and Ale Salazar won it 11-9 to end the final of the Paraguay Open.
The number 1 pairing’s time in South America on this tour has been a perfect 10, winning in La Rioja, Chile and Paraguay. Ale Salazar spoke about it after the match: “It’s been three very tough weeks, but all of this has been possible thanks to the great team we have. We have shown a very good level, and we have been able to see a great match. This year will be a great year, just like last year”.
With this victory, Gemma Triay and Ale Salazar start to create distance in the Race 2023. Their next stop on the circuit, at the Reus Open 500, will give them the chance to distance themselves a little more.
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