Photo: Martin Sidorjak

It wasn’t to be for Canadians in singles at this year’s BNP Paribas Open, as the Canadian contingent didn’t make it beyond the round of 16. On the bright side, the nation’s doubles players were having quite the fortnight in Indian Wells, California.

On Thursday, Gabriela Dabrowski (alongside Giuliana Olmos) and Leylah Annie Fernandez (paired up with Alize Cornet) were playing for a spot in the doubles finals. And if both players won, there would be a Canadian showdown for the BNP Paribas Open doubles title. Dabrowski – the current world No. 9 – was looking for her fourth WTA 1000 title, while 19-year-old Fernandez had her eyes set on a career-first doubles trophy.

First up was Ottawa’s Dabrowski and her Mexican partner, Olmos. On Court 2, the Canadian-Mexican duo faced No. 7-seeds Ena Shibahara of Japan and American Asia Muhammad. Both teams played the same amount of sets heading into today’s contest and had to grind through a couple of their matches. The expectations were that this was going to be another one of those tight matches, which is precisely what it ended up being.

In the opening set, despite the seven break point opportunities between both teams, there weren’t any break points converted. The Japanese-American duo took the tight tiebreak 8-6.

Dabrowski and Olmos were able to jump out to the early lead in the second set and added a break in the eighth game, then served out the set in the ninth to tie the match at one set apiece. Unfortunately for the Canadian and her partner, their opposition earned the first two mini-breaks and managed to maintain that lead to secure the match by a score of 7-6(6), 3-6, 10-5.

The next match on Court 2 was between Fernandez/Cornet and China’s Yifan Xu/Zhaoxuan Yang.

The opening set was quite the rollercoaster as there were seven service breaks. The seventh came in the 12th game on Fernandez and Cornet’s serve, which was to clinch the set for Xu and Yang.

Xu and Yang rode that wave of momentum into the second set, cruising their way to a 5-1 lead. Fernandez and Cornet had a superb chance to get back within striking distance when they were up 40-15 on the Chinese duo’s serve in the seventh game, but Xu and Yang remained focused and fought their way back to 40-40. They would seal the victory on the deciding point.