Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-fan only started their partnership earlier this year, but yet they managed to qualify for the WTA Finals on their first attempt as the Canadian-Chinese pairing started to solidify their status of being one of the most dangerous pairings on the tour with their impressive results this year.
With their first tournament only being in March, it is quite incredible considering how Dabrowski and Xu qualified for the year-ending championships having played only 14 tournaments together. It will be both players’ first appearance in the prestigious tournament, and they have also secured a career-high ranking in doubles this year.
Their first tournament together came at the Miami Open, and it was a big success. Being unseeded and looming in the draw, Dabrowski and Xu came out of nowhere and stormed to claim the title beating four seeds in the process, with Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina, Andrea Hlavackova/Peng Shuai, and Sania Mirza/Barbora Strycova being their victims along the way. It was truly an incredible run considering how they were not one of the contenders for the title, and it was their debut tournament.
String of poor results
Dabrowski and Xu played with different partners before coming together for the latter part of the clay court season, but they were unable to follow up their triumph in Miami as they failed to reach any quarterfinals during this period of time.
Their struggles continued when they had to endure through a three-match losing streak on grass, with their results looking very inconsistent on paper. Dabrowski and Xu were simply unable to gain the momentum, and they split up momentarily after their losing streak was extended to four.
Finding their form
After a brief split, they joined forces in New Haven in preparation for the last Grand Slam of the year. The split seemed to be effective as they stormed to clinch their second title together, ousting second seeds Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua in the final.
They had some consistent results since then, having reached the quarterfinals at the US Open before a semifinal showing at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Dabrowski and Xu finally sealed their place in the WTA Finals with a quarterfinal result at the Wuhan Open and they also achieved the same result at last week’s China Open.
Dabrowski and Xu will definitely look to cause some huge upsets in the WTA Finals, where only the top eight pairings in the world would have a chance to participate. The doubles competition will start on the 26th of October, while singles competition will start earlier on the 22nd.