While the hometown fans in Montreal are excited for an all-Canadian semi-final between Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, fans in Toronto have something Canadian-related to cheer about as well.
The Canuck pair of Sharon Fichman and Gabriela Dabrowsky won their quarter-final matchup today against the top-seeded pair, the Italian team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. While it is fair to point out that Serrani did play (and lost) earlier in the day, little can be taken away from Fichman and Dabrowski’s victory.
Like their match in the third-round, the Canadians started their quarter-final matchup behind a set. On the doorstep of opening the first set with a win, the tandem from Toronto and Ottawa respectively lost 7-6 (4). In some cases, to come so close and to lose would take the winds right out of a team’s sails. Of course, if that were the case, someone forgot to tell Fichman and Dabrowsky.
Entering the second set, the Italian tandem had a chance to close out their opponents but the hometown women had none of it as they dominated the second set, winning 6-2 forcing a third and deciding set.
In the final set, the Canucks picked up right where they left off as they opened up on the top-seeded pair winning 10-5 with the clinching point coming off an overhead smash at the net courtesy of Sharon Fichman.
With the victory, the Canadian women are off to Saturday’s semi-final where they will face the team from the former Yugoslavia: Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic and Slovenia’s Katarina Srebotnik who defeated the American duo of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears in their quarter-final earlier on Friday.
Jankovic and Srebotnik is certainly a formidable opponent for Fichman and Dabrowski but the Canadians are fresh off eliminating the top seeds not to mention winning their last two matches in comeback fashion. With that, it is safe to say that the local duo has momentum on their side.
Of course, with their increased momentum comes increased attention as Fichman and Dabriowski have quietly made their run this week on the side courts of the Rogers Cup. Now with all of the attention in Toronto focused on these two young women, no one is certain how the team will react to the sudden surge of scrutiny.
But let’s give Fichman and Dabrowsky credit. Their success thus far can hardly (if at all) be referred to as a fluke and there’s no substantial reason to believe that the two will wilt under the pressure of becoming the first all-Canadian pair to win a doubles title since 1969 when this tournament was still called the Canadian Open. Back then, Vicky Berner and Faye Urban did Canada proud by winning in 1969 after clinching the same championship in 1968, the first year this tournament had a women’s doubles division.
Being that they did eliminate the No. 1 seed in Errani and Vinci, the Canadian women were asked how that will affect them mentally and how they stay focused heading into Saturday’s semi-final.
“I’m not sure if it affects us mentally in the sense like, Oh, we beat the No. 1 team, we can beat anybody, because they play so differently than so many other teams, it’s really hard to compare,” answered Dabrowsky.
Sharon Fichman added, “On any given day, I really believe that anyone can beat anyone at this level. You know, what happens over the course of a year is different because, you know, consistency is very important but tennis is just like any other sport. Anything can happen.
“I think that, you know, just because we beat the No. 1 in the world team doesn’t mean we are No. 1 in the world by no means. It means we have the level to be there. But everyone is good. You have to respect everybody.”
Fichman and Dabrowski will continue their quest on Saturday and you can be certain that the hometown fans in addition to all of Canada will be right there cheering their fellow Canucks on every step of the way.