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Tennis history made for Canada with Dabrowski’s U.S. Open win

Ottawa resident teams with Routliffe for nation’s first share of a Grand Slam women’s doubles title
Erin Routliffe, of New Zealand, left, and Gabriela Dabrowski, of Canada, hold up the championship trophy after winning the women’s doubles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships against Laura Siegemund, of Germany, and Vera Zvonareva, of Russia, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in New York.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Manu Fernandez

Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam women’s doubles title Sunday when she and partner Erin Routliffe took the U.S. Open final in straight sets.

Dabrowski and Routliffe defeated Laura Siegemund of Germany and Vera Zvonareva of Russia 7-6 (9), 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Dabrowski, 31, became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam since Bianca Andreescu was the U.S. Open women’s singles champion in 2019.

Dabrowski had previously won mixed doubles crowns at the Australian Open in 2018 and the French Open in 2017. The 31-year-old added the U.S. Open in her Grand Slam collection.

Routliffe was born in New Zealand to Canadian parents, but grew up in Caledon, Ont., and now lives in Montreal. Routliffe previously competed for Canada as a junior.

She and Dabrowski teamed up for the first time just a month ago at the National Bank Open in Montreal, after a trying season in which promising partnerships fizzled out for both. The U.S. Open was only their fourth tournament together as a duo.

“She really took a chance on me and I really appreciate it and love her for it,” Routliffe said on court during the trophy ceremony. “I hope we can have many great results to come.”

Dabrowski returned the compliment.

“You took a chance on me, too,” Dabrowski said. “It’s been a tough year for us both. I’m really, really proud of the way we stood by each other through thick and thin these last two weeks.

“It’s incredibly special and it’s even more special doing with someone who, at heart, and location-wise, is a fellow-Canadian.”

The 16th-seeded Dabrowski and Routliffe saved five break points in the first set, including four in the fifth game en route to a tiebreaker.

They took an early 4-0 lead and held off the 12th-seeded Siegemund and Zvonareva for an 11-9 decision in the tiebreak.

Dabrowski and Routliffe started quickly in the second set when they broke their opponents twice.

Siegemund and Zvonareva countered with a break of their own, but Dabrowski and Routliffe remained in control and saw out the set with another break to lift the trophy and split the US$700,000 winner’s cheque.

Their journey to the title included a difficult quarterfinal win over Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., and Taylor Townsend of the U.S.

Dabrowski and Routliffe defeated this year’s French Open finalists in a third-set tiebreaker.

Dabrowski, whose career-high doubles ranking of No. 4 last year had dropped to 19th, will return to the top 10. Routliffe will be ranked in the top 20 for the first time in her career.

The duo also vaulted into contention for a place among the top eight teams in November’s season-ending WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.

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