Leylah Fernandez pumps her fist and smiles.

Photo: Hong Kong Tennis Open

Saturday was a good day for Canadian tennis as both Leylah Annie Fernandez and Gabriela Dabrowski advanced to finals on the WTA Tour with semifinal victories.

Fernandez ended a 19-month final drought on Saturday with her victory in the final four of the WTA 250 in Hong Kong over Anna Blinkova in straight sets.

Dabrowski and partner Erin Routliffe have been on a roll since teaming up in the summer and reached their third final since August with a three-set win at the WTA 500 in Zhengzhou over Hanyu Guo and Xinyu Jiang.

Already competing in her first semifinal of the season, Fernandez came out firing against the fifth seed Blinkova. Getting over the finish line proved tricky for the Canadian but she kept pushing until her opponent cracked and reached her first final since Monterrey in 2022 with a 6-2, 7-5 victory.

It was another efficient day for Fernandez, who put a lot of first serves in play (75 per cent) but also defended her second serve well, winning 71 per cent of those points. She limited Blinkova to just a single break point. The Canadian feasted on her opponent’s second serve, winning all but two of 17 points (88 per cent).

In her quarter-final win, Fernandez found winners on practically every big point and she set a similar tone in the semifinal, firing an off-balance forehand off the back foot up the line to secure an early break for a 3-1 lead.

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With the lead, the Canadian never gave Blinkova a chance to get back in the opening set. After breaking, she won three of the next four games to love, capping the set off with a drop shot winner to secure a second break.

Fernandez looked like she was going to cruise into the final when she broke early in the second and took a 3-0 lead, but Blinkova made a push and to recover the break and level the set at 4-4.

Undeterred, the 21-year-old went right back to putting pressure on her opponent’s serve. In a wild 10th game, Fernandez went up love-40, with all three break points being match points. But Blinkova was not going away quietly, saving all three and another at 40-AD before holding to extend the match.

The next time Blinkova stepped up to the line though, Fernandez was not going to let her off the hook. The Canadian went up love-40 again and this time drew an error with a deep return to book her spot in the final.

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Her opponent on Sunday will be Katerina Siniakova. Fernandez won their lone previous meeting on clay at Roland-Garros in 2022.

Sunday’s final will be Fernandez’s first title match outside of North America. Three of her four previous finals were in Mexico, with the fourth being the 2021 US Open final.

Dabrowski Closes In on Cancun

While Fernandez was making her first deep run of the season, they have been commonplace of late for Gabriela Dabrowski and her doubles partner Erin Routliffe. Having only teamed up in August, the pair reached their third final together with a tight Zhengzhou semifinal win over the home hopes Hanyu Guo and Xinyu Jiang.

With the win, the US Open champions move closer to a spot at the WTA Finals.

Dabrowski and Routliffe did everything just a little bit better in the semifinal clash, winning more of their service points and a higher percentage of return points, while breaking serve one more time than their opponents. But in the end, it was just a couple of points in the match tiebreak that made the difference in a 6-2, 4-6 10-7 win.

The first set was one-way traffic for the Canadian-Kiwi combo as they broke twice to take it in exactly half an hour. But a wild second set saw five breaks of serve in 10 games, the last one going the way of Guo and Jiang which forced a match tiebreak.

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There were many exchanges of minibreaks in the tiebreak, but Dabrowski and Routliffe kept keeping their noses in front. The Chinese pair clawed back and put the breaker back on serve at 7-8, but they lost the last two points of the match on their own serve to see the US Open champions into the final.

Third seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara await the top-seeded Canadian-Kiwi team in the final.

Just making the final has significantly boosted Dabrowski and Routliffe’s chances of qualifying for the WTA Finals, but a victory would give them a stranglehold on a qualifying spot.