Gabriela Dabrowski tosses a ball up to serve at the Australian Open. She and Rob Shaw were both eliminated on Friday.

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

On the heels of their big win in the Big Apple last September, Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe (NZ) touched down in Melbourne with their sights set on a second straight women’s doubles Slam crown. The fourth seeds fought their way into the semis but were stopped in their tracks by a 5-7, 5-7 loss to Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko (11).  

The tennis balls got rolling around midnight EST, as the Canadian secured the opening point on serve. After breaks on both sides, a sublime net point gave Dabrowski and Routliffe a 4-3 lead. 

With Gabriela serving for the set at 5-3, Kichenok and Ostapenko took things up a notch and devised a tremendous comeback to claim the next four games and the first set. 

The second set looked a lot like the first. Dabrowski and Routliffe swiftly moved up 3-0, but their opponents dug deep to level it at 3-3. Undeterred, the Canadian and her partner got up a break at 5-3, but Dabrowski, on serve, let the 11th seeds back in again. Jelena Ostapenko sealed the deal with a triumphant smash.   

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Dabrowski and Routliffe, who let too many key points slip away, will certainly be disappointed with the outcome. They seemed sluggish at times and never found a way to put out their opponents’ fire. Though they won 57% of their first serves and 41% of their second serves, they saved only two of eight break points. 

On the bright side, it was Dabrowski’s very first semifinal appearance in Australia after getting as far as the quarters in 2018 and 2020. 

In the final, Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko will go head-to-head with second seeds Su-Wei Hsieh and Elise Mertens. 

Australian Open Remains Elusive for Shaw 

Like Dabrowski, Rob Shaw saw his Australian Open campaign come to an end in the doubles semifinals. He and partner Heath Davidson, the second seeds, were upset in the semifinals of the quad doubles by Andy Lapthorne and David Wagner in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. 

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The Australian Open remains the one major where Shaw has yet to reach the final. 

While it may provide little consolation, Lapthorne and Wagner went on to win the title later that same day.  

In the semifinal clash, Lapthorne and Wagner pulled ahead midway through the opening set, breaking Shaw’s serve to love. That lone break was enough to take the opening set. 

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The Canadian/Aussie pair fell behind early in the second set when Davidson’s serve was broken in the third game. This time they immediately responded and broke back, only for Shaw to drop serve again to give the lead back to the British-American duo. 

After saving another break-back point in the sixth game, Lapthorne and Wagner broke Davidson again to stretch their lead to 5-2 before serving out the match.  

Photo : Martin Sidorjak

Shaw lost in the quarter-finals of the quad singles earlier in the week, falling to fourth seed Guy Sasson 6-4, 6-2. Sasson went on to reach the final. 

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However, there was a silver lining for the Canadian in the singles competition. His first-round demolishing of Finn Broadbent 6-1, 6-0 was his first-ever singles win at a Grand Slam event.  

With Shaw and Dabrowski’s losses on Friday, all Canadians have been eliminated from the 2024 Australian Open. 

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