ROME — Twelve years after Sara Errani won her first Internazionali BNL d’Italia doubles title, the 37-year-old Italian stood triumphant once again at the Foro Italico. Standing by Errani’s side this time was 28-year-old Jasmine Paolini, who Errani has taken under her win as a friend and mentor over the last two seasons.

“The tour is not easy,” Errani told WTA Insider. “To have somebody near, some friends, to spend the time and enjoy more the day by day, it helps a lot.

“In singles, in doubles, it’s not easy to do this life alone. So to have the opportunity to share it with a friend and to speak in the days and go to dinner, have fun, it’s very important.”

On Sunday in Rome, the unseeded duo capped off their fourth upset of the tournament, beating No.3-seeded Coco Gauff and Erin Routliffe in a match-tiebreak. Errani and Paolini, who hope to play together at the Olympics in Paris, also defeated No.2 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez, No.6 seeds Lyudmila Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko, and No.8 seeds Caroline Dolehide and Desiree Krawczyk.

“I don’t know how we won in the end,” Errani said, still stunned by their comeback from 8-6 down in the match-tiebreak to win four consecutive points to beat Gauff and Routliffe.

“The crowd was great of course,” Paolini said. “It was great to play in front of them, to play in Italy and win the title, it’s special. They are so excited and it’s really nice.”

Reflecting on her remarkable journey back to the winner’s circle, Errani cited her passion for the sport for her longevity. A French Open singles finalist, Errani reached a career-high No.4 in singles 14 years ago. Her accomplishments on the doubles court are too long to list. Rome is her 30th career doubles title. Alongside Roberta Vinci, the Italians ruled the doubles circuit from 2012 to 2014, winning all four Grand Slams at least once during that span.

“I’m still here,” Errani said. “It’s not easy physically but I’m really happy. I’m enjoying it and this is the most important thing. I’m having fun and we’re winning, so everything is going great.

“There will be tough moments, but I’ve passed tough moments and I’m still here.”


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