|2019 05 10 MADRID. Mutua Madrid Open 2019.

On the heels of their clay-court title in Nuremberg, Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and her doubles partner Yifan Xu won their opening French Open match against Dalila Jakupovic and Irina Bara 6-1, 1-6, and 6-2.

Dabrowski and Xu, the No.4-seeded doubles pair, were dominant in the opening set – winning eight of the match’s first nine points to score an early break and jump in front 2-0. They would later score two more break points in the first set, while limiting their opponents to just eight of 21 service points.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Canadian and Chinese duo. Jakupovic and Bara bounced back in a big way in the second set – attacking Dabrowski and Xu’s serve. The pair scored on just 41% of their service points and failed to convert on four different break opportunities in the second set.

However, Dabrowski and Xu righted the ship in the third and decisive set – winning the last four games of the match to secure the victory.

The win marked the fourth year in a row that Dabrowski has advanced to the second round in doubles at Roland-Garros. The Ottawa native has never gone past the third round, but this year feels different for the 27 year old.

Dabrowski and Xu have excelled on the slow surface in 2019, reaching two finals during the clay-court season. First, they were runner-ups in Madrid earlier this month. Then, they captured their first title as a pair on the “terre battue” by winning the Nuremberg Cup, defeating fellow Canadian Sharon Fichman and American Nicole Melichar.

Dabrowski is the lone Canadian left at the French Open, after Bianca Andreescu was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to injury.

After winning in the morning, Gaby then played mixed doubles with Croatian Mate Pavic. The pair were finalists at last year’s French Open. And on Thursday afternoon, they got off to a great start in their quest to return to the finals – defeating Frederik Nielsen and Kaitlyn Christian in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(3).

The Ottawa native returns to action on Saturday, where she and Xu will face-off against the Chinese pairing of Han Xinyun and Wang Yafan in the second round. While, for mixed doubles, the No.2-seeded Dabrowski and Pavic are set to play Romania’s Raluca Olura and Croatia’s Franko Skugor.

(Feature photo: Nurnberger Verscherungscup)