Gabriela Dabrowski (right) and Erin Routliffe (left) walk towards the baseline. They lost in the semifinals of Dubai on Friday.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe have had a bit of trouble in semifinals of late, with their latest loss coming in the Dubai final four. 

The second seeds lost a back-and-forth battle with fourth seeds Storm Hunter and Katerina Siniakova in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 on Friday. It is their third consecutive loss when reach the semifinals, having been bounced in the final four of the Australian Open and WTA Finals. 

On the bright side, the Canadian-Kiwi pair have reached the semifinals or better at five of the last seven WTA 1000 or higher tier tournaments. 

In Friday’s semifinal clash, Hunter and Siniakova were the aggressors, firing 26 winners while also committing 20 unforced errors. They also forced 21 errors from their opponents, who had just 12 winners and unforced errors. The fourth seeds converted five of their eight break points, while Dabrowski and Routliffe managed just three of five. 

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Through the first six games of the match, there was just a single hold of serve when Siniakova managed to close out a game for a 3-1. By the time Routliffe held to love in the seventh game, the first hold for the Canadian-Kiwi team, they still trailed 4-3 after Dabrowski had been broken twice and Routliffe once. 

Despite managing to break twice in the early goings, the second seeds inability to hold early cost them as they never recovered that decisive break in the first set. 

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Hunter and Siniakova seemed to be keeping their foot on the gas when they broke again in the opening game of the second set, but just like in the first, Dabrowski and Routliffe responded immediately, coaxing some errors out of their opponents to immediately get back on serve. 

This time, there was no run of breaks as both teams settled in. Hunter and Siniakova had a look at a break in the fifth game but both hit forehands into the let to let Routliffe get out of her service game. In the eighth game, Dabrowski gave her team a look with a clever overhead drop shot winner, but she missed her return on the next point. 

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That miss proved costly as Routliffe went down 30-40 on her serve in the next game and Dabrowski netted a volley to give the break to the fourth seeds. Siniakova promptly served out the match to love. 

Since winning the US Open last September, Dabrowski and Routliffe have reached at least the semifinals in just above 50 per cent of events (five of nine) played together, having reached two finals and winning one title in Tokyo.