For the first time in her career, Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski will play in a women’s doubles final at a Grand Slam.

After knocking on the door in 2018 at the All England Club, the Ottawa native and her playing partner Yifan Xu made the most of their opportunity just a short year later. They took down the defending Wimbledon champions and the No.2 seeded team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in three sets 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to advance to Saturday’s final. The Canadian-Chinese duo will head into that match having dropped just one set during these Championships.

In the first set, Dabrowski and Xu were absolutely dominant. The pair won an early break and took the first three games of the opening set. Then, leading 4-1, the 27 year old from Ottawa connected on a beautiful backhand that painted the line to save game point. Moments later, they scored their second break of the set after Xu tallied a forehand volley winner. From there, Dabrowski and Xu held serve to take the opening set in 23 minutes.

However, Krejcikova and Siniakova bounced back quickly in the second set. In Dabrowski and Xu’s first service game,they were broken for just the second time in these Championships. The No.4-seeded pair then tried to break right back. In a game that lasted over 10 minutes, they managed to score six break points but failed to convert all of them. Krejcikova and Siniakova would serve out the rest of the set to force a third and decisive set.

Once there, Dabrowski and Xu responded back much like the reigning Wimbledon champions. They scored a break early in the third set when Siniakova hit a volley into the net to jump infront 3-1. From there, they saved three break points in the final set en route to winning the match.

Through five matches at these Championships, Dabrowski and Xu have been broken just twice. With their latest win, the pair also improves their match record as a team to 9-2 at Wimbledon.

It seems like playing on the courts at the All England Club was just what this duo needed after struggling through the grass-court season. They came into this year’s Wimbledon with a 1-3 record on grass. However, since they started playing on the London grass, Dabrowski and Xu have won five matches in a row to reach their first-ever Grand Slam final as a unit. In 2018, the pair lost in their first Grand Slam semi-final as a team – falling to Nicole Melichar and Kvete Peschke in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 at Wimbledon.

It was Gaby’s best result in women’s doubles at a Grand Slam.

But one year later, Dabrowski and Xu weren’t about to be denied. They will now face the No.3-seeded team of Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova in the final on Saturday. Should the Ottawa native win Wimbledon, she’d become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title in women’s doubles. Her appearance in the final also makes her the first from Canada to play for a Grand Slam women’s doubles title in 30 years (Jill Hetherington at the 1989 Australian Open).

Dabrowski is no stranger to creating some Canadian tennis history. Back in 2017, she became the first Canadian woman to win a Grand Slam title by capturing the mixed doubles crown at the French Open with Indian partner Rohan Bopanna.

(Photo: Mauricio Paiz)