Photo: Pascal Ratthé
Less than a week after capturing the doubles title at the National Bank Open in Montreal, Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and her Brazilian partner Luisa Stefani (no. 6) played for top honours yet again on Saturday night, this time in Cincinnati. The duo went up against China’s Shuai Zang and Australia’s Samantha Stosur in an attempt to win their second title of the season.
Unfortunately, Dabrowski and Stefani, who were appearing in their third final in as many weeks, lost in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.
The match was shaping up to be a very exciting one, as both teams were able to beat opponents who were top four seeds of the tournament en route to the final. Dabrowski and Stefani defeated No. 3 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan in the quarter-finals and the always dangerous Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the semifinals. As for Zang and Stosur, they eliminated the fourth seeds Nicole Melichar (USA) and Demi Schuurs (Netherlands) in the semis.
The first set lived up to expectations, with both teams unable to get the better of the other. It wasn’t until the eleventh game that Zang and Stosur finally took the lead to escape with a 7-5 lead. Although they were broken early in the second set, the pair rallied and won four consecutive games to take the lead and seal the outcome of the match a few minutes later at 6-3.
Despite the loss, Dabrowski, considered by many to be the best female doubles player in Canadian tennis history, continues her climb to the top of the women’s doubles rankings. Currently ranked no. 13 in the world, she will be looking to move closer to her all-time high ranking of no. 7 in the coming weeks. In addition to her 10 WTA doubles crowns, she also has two Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles (Australian Open in 2018, Roland Garros in 2017) in addition to reaching 14 finals on tour.