'We stuck together', Routliffe, Dabrowski relieved to get through

Wednesday, 06 September 2023

Erin Routliffe and Gaby Dabrowski admitted their quarterfinal match at the US Open was a real rollercoaster experience, but one they’re relieved to have gotten through.

Kiwi Routliffe and her Canadian partner Dabrowski defeated fellow Canadian Lelyah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend from America 2-6 6-3 7-6 (8) in front of a lively crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Tuesday.

It was a match that had plenty of ups and downs and there were a number of times where it looked like Routliffe and Dabrowski might have lost when they let a 4-1 lead slip in the third set.

But they managed to dig deep, get through it and book a place in the semifinals later this week.

“The conditions were really tough. Not just the heat and the humidity but of course the crowd as well,” Dabrowski said when speaking to the media afterwards.

It was wild. I think I said on the court it was like an emotional roller coaster as well. 

To be honest, I was just really proud of the way we fought, even when things weren't going our way, and then they were going our way, and then we had chances to close it out and then didn't take it but kept fighting. It really was a roller coaster.

I was really nerve-racking. But we stuck with each other throughout the entirety of the match, and I think that was great."

Routliffe also felt it was a dramatic match to get through.

"Every match there's a lot of highs, a lot of lows, but that one felt even more heightened,” Routliffe said.

We played against two amazing players and I think we had 0.1% of the crowd on our side. It was really tough.

“We stuck together throughout the whole thing, which was really important and I think that probably pulled us through in the end. 

"We were brave, even after we weren't brave, when we were trying to close it out the first time, I guess, or first few times, I don't even know. Don't even tell me.

“I'm really happy, and I hope it was exciting for everyone to watch. I guess we put on a show.”

The crowd built over the match, as people who had been watching Novak Djokovic beat Taylor Fritz earlier on Arthur Ashe Stadium gradually headed over. 

For nearly everyone in the crowd, there was only one team they wanted to win - and it wasn’t the one Routliffe was playing for.

I played two Americans here last year in the second round, and it was a really, really hard environment,” she said. 

I knew today was going to be difficult. I didn't really think it was going to be like that but now I know. That's OK.”

There were two moments in the match that stood out above the others. Firstly when Routliffe and Dabrowski let that 4-1 lead slip in the third set, and secondly when they fell behind 7-2 in the tiebreaker, but were helped in their comeback by two double faults in a row from Townsend.

I definitely slowed down my serve on my service game,” Dabrowski said of getting broken at 4-1. 

“I thought I played not to lose instead of to win. I lost sight of the process, and that showed in that game. And they played really well.

I missed a couple of my targets on some of my volleys of where I should have hit them to make them feel more uncomfortable. Leylah came up with two really good angles because of that.

“The momentum can change so fast. They're good servers, good returners. Even though we're still up 4-2 and we have another service game, it feels like the gap is becoming smaller and smaller.

“Then with the crowd just every single point feels like it's three points. That's how it feels when you lose a point in that environment.

“And then at 7-2, yeah, we were gifted with two doubles, which was really interesting. I think that definitely helped us.”

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