Bouchard wins marathon match, Dabrowski and Andreescu secure victory in doubles
Canada won the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group II play-off tie 3-2 against Ukraine at IGA Stadium in Montreal. After Eugenie Bouchard (Montreal, QC) won the first singles rubber and Gabriela Dabrowski (Ottawa, ON) dropped the fourth match, it all came down to the doubles match. In the end, it was the pair of Dabrowski and Bianca Andreescu (Mississauga, ON) who secured the victory for Canada.
Playing in the first match of the day were both winners from Saturday, Eugenie Bouchard and Lesia Tsurenko. In the opening set, the Canadian had to play catch-up from the start, falling behind early and dropping the first set. Bouchard came out strong in the second, as she elevated her game with the full support of the packed crowd. Two crucial double faults from Tsurenko gave the Montreal native the break she needed to take the set. The third rubber required a decisive set, with Bouchard saving three break points early on to keep herself in the match. After what seemed like a never-ending game, it was Tsurenko who took the first lead. It did not last long, however, as the match ended up going to a tiebreak. In the end, it was Bouchard who outlasted her opponent after just over two and a half hours of play, taking the match 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) ang getting the crucial point for her country.
“This was a great win for me. It was a tough battle, but I am glad to have come out on top,” stated Bouchard after her victory. “I am confident in our team and I know that the girls will give it their all to try and win this tie.”
In the second match of the day, Gabriela Dabrowski was selected to play in place of an injured Françoise Abanda. Ranked inside the WTA Top 10 in doubles, the Canadian was playing in only her fourth singles match of the year. Dabrowski started off the match strong, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set. She ended up taking the set in just under half an hour. Things got tougher after that as she was broken twice in the second and twice again in the third. Despite having a strong serve in the first, Dabrowski was unable to maintain her level for the rest of the match, ultimately falling 6-3, 2-6, 1-6.
The tie came down to a decisive doubles rubber, with Bianca Andreescu and Dabrowski representing Canada and Olga Savchuk and Bondarenko representing Ukraine. After taking the first thanks to an early break, the Canadian team found themselves trailing in the second and ended up dropping the set. The Ukrainian players experienced some difficulties while on serve throughout the match, especially in the second where they committed five double faults. In the third and decisive set, it was Canada who managed to convert on all three of their break point opportunities to take the match by a score of 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 and thus secure the victory for their country.
“I am very proud of our team. We knew we were playing against a tough opponent as they were ranked higher than us, but we fought hard,” said team captain Sylvain Bruneau after Canada’s triumph. “Despite all the adversity that we faced this weekend, we managed to get the win. All the credit goes to the girls.”
This win over Ukraine will allow the Canadian squad to remain in the World Group II for 2019, while their opponents will be relegated to the Zonal Group.
*Feature photo: Pascal Ratthé