SYDNEY, Australia -- It was a banner performance by Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan in the Sydney International doubles final on Friday, as the Canadian-Chinese pairing disposed of No.1 seeds Latisha Chan and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova, 6-3, 6-1.
The third-seeded team of Dabrowski and Xu won their first title of the year and third title together overall, after triumphs at the Miami Open and the Connecticut Open in 2017. "We had a really good season last year, and I’m excited for 2018," Dabrowski said during the trophy presentation. "Hopefully we can have some more good results together.”
Meanwhile, World No.1 Chan of Chinese Taipei and World No.5 Sestini Hlavackova of the Czech Republic were prevented from winning their maiden title together since they paired up at the start of this season. During the trophy presentation, Chan noted that the wind was a struggle for the players.
"They like the wind, I think," Sestini Hlavackova laughed, referring to the victors.
Dabrowski and Xu served at 70 percent on their first delivery, and only faced two break points in the entire match. They won over 68 percent of points on both their first and second serves en route to a 56-minute victory.
The first set turned after Dabrowski and Xu won a deciding point to hold for 3-3, when Dabrowski hit a strong serve which was meekly returned, allowing Xu to put the second shot away. After missing that opportunity, Sestini Hlavackova faltered on her serve, and was broken at love when a service return clipped the net and changed direction to slide past Chan.
Xu held easily for 5-3, putting the pressure on the service of Chan. The World No.1 faced a set point after a strong putaway by Dabrowski, and Chan then pushed a backhand unforced error into the net to give up the opening set to the No.3 seeds.
It was a runaway in the second set, as Dabrowski and Xu broke Chan and Sestini Hlavackova in all three of the top seeds' service games. Chan hit three double faults in a row to give up their first service game of the set, and although Xu was broken immediately thereafter to put the set back on serve at 2-1, it would prove to be a minor stumble for the eventual champions.
Strong backhands from Dabrowski forced Chan into an error at the net on deciding point in the next game, and Dabrowski and Xu once again led by a set and a break at 3-1 in the second.
After quality volleying by Xu allowed Dabrowski to hold for 4-1, the Chan service was broken again for 5-1. Xu raced to a love service hold in the next game, thereby finishing off a four-game streak to close out the championship for Dabrowski and Xu.