WTA Rogers Cup: Ostapenko rebounds in doubles with Dabrowski, battle past Hozumi/Kato

Just hours after suffering a shock first-round exit at the hands of Varvara Lepchenko in the singles draw, Jelena Ostapenko rebounded impressively in doubles with home favourite Gabriela Dabrowski, edging out the all-Japanese team of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato in straight sets.

WTA Rogers Cup: Ostapenko rebounds in doubles with Dabrowski, battle past Hozumi/Kato
Jelena Ostapenko (in yellow) and Gabriela Dabrowski high-five after a fun point in their first-round doubles match against Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato at the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. | Photo: Max Gao
G. Dabrowski/J. Ostapenko
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E. Hozumi/M. Kato

Just two hours after suffering an emotional three-set loss at the hands of American Varvara Lepchenko, Jelena Ostapenko joined forces with fellow French Open champion Gabriela Dabrowski to impressively rebound in the doubles on Monday evening, battling past the resilient all-Japanese pairing of Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato, 7-5, 6-3, to advance to the second round of the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank.

Breaks Galore in the Opening Set Before Ostapenko Finally Holds Her Nerve (and Serve!)

In front of a full house on Court 3, it was Dabrowski and Ostapenko who struck first, roughing out an early service hold before breaking in the ensuing game to take a 2-1 lead, much to the delight of the Canadian fans. And once Ostapenko consolidated the break at love with four huge serves, the Canadian-Latvian pairing seemed to be in cruise control, but all was not like it seemed from there.

Eri Hozumi (in black) and Miyu Kato discuss strategy before the former serves during their first-round match at the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. | Photo: Max Gao
Eri Hozumi (in black) and Miyu Kato discuss strategy before the former serves during their first-round match at the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. | Photo: Max Gao

Using their longtime experience as a team, Hozumi and Kato were able to put together a vital hold in the fifth game to stay within touching distance of Dabrowski and Ostapenko. That service hold would later be the last for either team until the 12th game of the opening set where, after six straight breaks of serve, it was Ostapenko who would be able to hold her nerve despite a few difficulties on serve to win it, 7-5, with the help of some crafty volleying from Dabrowski.

Gabriela Dabrowski hits a backhand during her first-round doubles match with Jelena Ostapenko at the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. | Photo: Max Gao
Gabriela Dabrowski hits a backhand during her first-round doubles match with Jelena Ostapenko at the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. | Photo: Max Gao

Dabrowski and Ostapenko Combine Well to Close Out Hard-Fought Victory in Straight Sets

The second set would prove to be a similar story as both teams had their fair share of chances to not only break the other’s serve but also hold their own. Ultimately, however, it was the Canadian-Latvian pairing that was able to do the most damage and back it up in their own service games. After trading breaks midway through the set, the crucial break came in the seventh game where, despite some steady resistance from Hozumi and Kato, Dabrowski and Ostapenko were able to use their strengths, which complemented each other perfectly, to reclaim the single-break advantage.

A combination that works: Jelena Ostapenko covering the back of the court while Gabriela Dabrowski looks for the perfect opportunity to attack at the net. | Photo: Max Gao
A combination that works: Jelena Ostapenko covering the back of the court while Gabriela Dabrowski looks for the perfect opportunity to attack at the net. | Photo: Max Gao

After missing the opportunity to consolidate earlier in the set, the Canadian-Latvian pairing would make no such mistake this time around, holding easily to move within one game of victory at a set and 5-3 to the good. That seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for Hozumi and Kato as Dabrowski and Ostapenko would soon close it out from there, breaking once more off a great return from the Latvian to secure a hard-fought 7-5, 6-3 victory.

Jelena Ostapenko hits a backhand during her first-round doubles match with Gabriela Dabrowski at the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. | Photo: Max Gao
Jelena Ostapenko hits a backhand during her first-round doubles match with Gabriela Dabrowski at the 2017 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. | Photo: Max Gao

Next Up for Dabrowski/Ostapenko: Goerges/Savchuk

For a place in the final eight, Dabrowski and Ostapenko will need to bring their A game against the German-Ukrainian pairing of Julia Goerges and Olga Savchuk, who edged out seventh seeds Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 13-11 in the decisive match tiebreak on Tuesday afternoon.