Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski & Erin Routliffe from New Zealand defeated former champions Laura Siegemund & Vera Zvonareva, 7-6(9) 6-3, to win the US Open women’s doubles final on Sunday in New York.
Thank you to Erin. You took a chance on me too! I think we improved a lot even from the first tournament we played back in Montréal. I can retire happy at some point now. That's what it means to me. Not now, but at some point, I can retire relieved. Gabriela Dabrowski
The No 16 seeds had a dream run to Grand Slam glory, beating 3 seeded teams ranked ahead of them for the title.
Their run included a dramatic 2-6 6-3 7-6(8) win over No 6 seeds Leylah Fernandez & Taylor Townsend in the quarter-finals, before they knocked off No 8 seeds and French Open champions Wang Xinyu & Hsieh Su-wei in the semis, and now 12th seeds Zvonareva & Siegemund in the final.
“It’s been a tough year for us both,” Dabrowski said. “I’m really proud of how we stood by each other through thick and thin the last few weeks.”
Dabrowski & Routliffe, who only teamed up just last month, saved 8 of the 9 break points they faced during a match that lasted 2 hours and 14 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Germany’s Siegemund & Zvonareva from Russia were hoping to reclaim the title they first won in 2020, but were ultimately thwarted by Routliffe & Dabrowski, who won their first women’s doubles major crown together after pulling off the biggest win of their careers.
From the outset of match, little separated the teams, with neither pair able to break and trading service holds until they went into the first-set tiebreak just over an hour into the match.
Siegemund used her power and shot placement skills to great effect, beautifully set up by Zvonareva, while Dabrowski & Routliffe played solidly at the net, seemingly unable to let a ball get past them.
The eventual champions took an early 4-1 lead in the breaker, but the determined Siegemund & Zvonareva were unwilling to let go of the first set and they stormed back to level at 4-4, only for Dabrowski & Routliffe to clinch the opener on their 4th set point.
Siegemund & Zvonareva failed to convert any of the 5 break point chances they had in the tightly-contested first set.
Dabrowski & Routliffe took their momentum into the second, and came out firing, taking the first break of the set to race out to a 3-0 lead in just 17 minutes, but Siegemund & Zvonareva came back fighting.
Siegemund took a medical time out during the change-over, which seemed to help her, and Zvonareva reset to get herself back into a groove.
They broke, firing 2 stunning winners as their opponents made 3 unforced errors, and then held serve to narrow the scoreline to 3-2.
Buoyed by a vocal and packed box filled with friends and family, Routliffe & Dabrowski fed off the support, and stayed consistent throughout the match, getting 81% of returns in, and winning 75% of their first serve points.
With Zvonareva serving at 3-5 down, the pair saved 2 championship points with volley winners from Siegemund, but, 2 points later, Dabrowski & Routliffe dropped to their knees in delight after a backhand sent wide by the Russian wrapped up the match.
It marked the first Grand Slam title for Routliffe, who previously represented Canada, and the third for Dabrowski following the mixed doubles titles she won at the 2017 French Open and 2018 Australian Open.
“Thanks to Gabby for playing with me,” Routliffe said during their on-court interview. “She really took a chance on me, and I really appreciate it, and love her for it, and, obviously, I hope we can have many great results to come in the future.
“I have watched Gaby for years and, obviously, known her for a really long time, kind of idolised her,” Routliffe added. “She’s been flying the Canadian flag for the doubles for a long time now. I really liked her game. I just thought that we would be good together.”
They teamed up for the first time in Montréal, where they reached the 2nd-round as well as in Cincinnati, and then made the semi-finals in Cleveland the week before the US Open.
Their success as a team might be new, but both are strong doubles players with good credentials, Routliffe having previously won 3 WTA doubles titles, while Dabrowski has now hoisted 14 doubles trophies on tour.
“In Cincy, in particular, our first round, when we beat Shibahara-Aoyama, and they had just won Montréal, I thought that was a good indication we could hang with one of the best teams in the world,” Dabrowski said. “I believed before, but when you have a win like that, it kind of solidifies, oh, yeah, my instincts were right.
“Thank you to Erin. You took a chance on me too! I think we improved a lot even from the first tournament we played back in Montréal.
“I can retire happy at some point now,” Dabrowski added. “That’s what it means to me. Not now, but at some point, I can retire relieved.”