Canada’s hopes of a medal in tennis at the Olympics in Tokyo were dashed on Thursday as Gabriela Dabrowski and Félix Auger-Aliassime, the last Canadians standing, were eliminated from the mixed doubles competition in the first round.
The pair were defeated by the star-studded Greek pair of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime and Dabrowski were both competing in their second event of the games, but also lost in the first round of the men’s singles and women’s doubles respectively. Leylah Fernandez was defeated in the second round of the women’s singles. Canada did not have a team in the men’s doubles.
Up against Tsitsipas and Sakkari, both Top 20 singles players who reached the final and semi-final of the French Open in June, the Canadian pair had chances in both sets, but were unable to convert any of their four break points in the match.
In the opening set, Auger-Aliassime and Dabrowski were made to pay for missing a pair of break points at 3-all, going down love-40 and ultimately surrendering the break to go down 3-5.
From 3-all in the first set, the Greeks won five straight games, winning the opening set and then breaking serve in the opening game of the second to take an early 2-0 lead.
The Canadians had a chance to claw back midway through the second set when they went up 15-40 on the Greeks’ serve, but could not convert either break point.
That was the only opening for Auger-Aliassime and Dabrowski, as they could not muster another break-back opportunity and that early break was enough for Tsitsipas and Sakkari to take the second set and the match.
The Canadian Olympic tennis team was greatly affected by withdrawals, as Bianca Andreescu, Denis Shapovalov, Vasek Pospisil, and Milos Raonic all withdrew.
Canada has only ever won one Olympic medal in tennis, that being when Daniel Nestor and Sébastien Lareau won gold in men’s doubles at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.