Dream comes true for Erin Routliffe

Friday, 08 September 2023

Erin Routliffe always dreamed of one day playing in a grand slam final and the win at the US Open she and Gaby Dabrowski had on Friday means she’ll be able to achieve that.

Routliffe and Dabrowski defeated Hsieh Su-Wei and Wang Xinyu 6-1 7-6 (4) and in the final, they’ll play Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva at 5am Monday, NZ time.

“This is what you dream of as a little girl playing tennis,” Routliffe said. 

“I’m going to try to remind myself of that. That this is what I’ve worked for.

“I’m just so happy and a bit relieved,” she added. 

“Sports are crazy. If I would have told myself three months ago that I’d be in the final of a slam, I’d be like ‘that’s so stupid.’

“But I’ve kept fighting, battling and pushing through the tough moments and I’m obviously happy to play on Sunday (US time).”

Ever since Routliffe teamed up with Dabrowski after Wimbledon her results have improved dramatically, she failed to make it past the first round at any of the other grand slams this year.

They have been one of the stand-out doubles teams during this year’s US Open and Routliffe says she’s not shocked that they’ve been able to make it this far. 

“I’m not surprised,” she said. 

“This is a goal I’ve set for myself for a few years, when I started playing pro and I’ve been working really hard and practising a lot more than I have in the past.

“I’ve surrounded myself with people who believe in me. My coach here Bruce (Lipka), Neil (Carter) back in New Zealand.

“I’ve tried to bring in people who believe I can do these things. That’s really important when you’re out here losing every single week, because everyone’s losing except for one person. 

“So putting it into some perspective, I think I have the game to be one of the best doubles players in the world and hopefully I can show that."

Routliffe and Dabrowski made 13 double faults during the semifinal, with most of them coming from the Kiwi. The serve is usually one of the strengths of her game, but she admitted she couldn’t get it firing in this match.

“I haven’t served that many double faults ever,” she said. 

"I would say I have a good serve, I’m not super consistent with it, but it will be big, I’ll get free points and then I’ll double fault.

“Today I was having trouble getting the power I was looking for, but Gaby did such a good job at the net and trying to figure out the plays that would work. I’m glad that we pulled through it.”

Defeating Taylor Townsend and Leylah Fernandez in the quarterfinals was a significant win for Routliffe and Dabrowski. They had to deal with a hostile crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium, as well as one of the best doubles teams in the world.

It got Routliffe into a grand slam semifinal for the first time, but she said she wasn’t content just with that.

“I think that’s something which happens a lot when people have a big win or a first-time situation,” she said. 

“After our match with Taylor and Leylah, it was nice to have days off in between, to reset. 

“You think anything can happen. We were just trying to focus on ourselves and the process and we knew we could beat them. 

“The match the other day gave us a lot of confidence on our mental side and today was another mental match. You’ve got to focus on the process and stick together, which I think we did well.”

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