LONDON, Great Britain -- A major breakthrough occurred for Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Xu Yifan of China at Wimbledon on Friday, as they moved into their first-ever Grand Slam women’s doubles final.
4th-seeded Dabrowski and Xu ousted the Czech defending champions and No.2 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, to book a spot in the championship match and put themselves one win away from a maiden Grand Slam women’s doubles title.
Dabrowski and Xu needed one hour and 38 minutes to emerge triumphant in the three-set tussle and pull off the upset victory. The Canadian/Chinese pairing won over half of their second-service points and claimed nearly 70 percent of points on their opponents' second serves. The Czechs could only convert one of their four break points in the clash.
Dabrowski has won two Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles, but this is a long-awaited moment for her and Xu in women’s doubles, who have been regular partners since the start of 2017 and had fallen at this stage last year at Wimbledon.
The No.4 seeds had a pristine first set, racing out to a 3-0 lead after Xu closed out a scintillating rally with an overhead winner to hold her own serve. Krejcikova dropped serve for the second time in the set as the Canadian/Chinese duo jumped to 5-1 behind deep returns, and they closed out the set on their second set point in the following game.
The defending champions, however, fought back in the second set. At 1-0, a strong Siniakova return on break point on Xu’s serve forced an error from Dabrowski to give the Czechs a crucial early lead. Siniakova had to then survive a 10-minute game on her serve, saving six break points in the process, before consolidating for 3-0.
The volleys by Dabrowski and Xu were still solid for the rest of the second set, but Siniakova upped her groundstroke game to help power her and Krejcikova through to a 5-2 lead. It turned out that the break for 2-0 proved decisive, as the Czechs converted their third set point at 5-3 after a Siniakova volley forced a long error by Dabrowski, leveling the match at one set apiece.
Dabrowski and Xu, however, steered the match back in their favor in the deciding set. The fourth seeds clinched the critical service break at 2-1 when a tense forecourt rally between the teams on break point came to a close with a Siniakova backhand volley forced into the net.
The Czechs had three chances to break Xu in the very next game, but the Chinese player gritted out a hold for 4-1, and she and Dabrowski were not troubled on serve from that point forward. With Xu serving for the match at 5-3, she and Dabrowski let two match points go begging before Siniakova fired a groundstroke long on the third.
Dabrowski and Xu will have to knock off another top doubles team in the final if they want to win their first Slam together: they will face either No.1 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic or No.3 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova, who play the second semifinal later on Friday.
More to follow...