INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – If the new partnership between Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos got off to a slow start, it’s picking up steam in the desert.
The pair, seeded No. 5 based upon their results with previous partners over the last 52 weeks, reached the BNP Paribas Open semifinals after a 6-2, 2-6, [10-7] win over the experienced Romanian pair of Monica Niculescu and Irina-Camelia Begu Tuesday.
They’ll play either Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, or Asia Muhammad and Ena Shibahara (all of them Americans, although Shibahara now represents Japan).
So it truly is the “USMCA” section of the women’s draw.
Here’s what it looked like.
Three straight wins
The pair beat Tereza Mihalikova and Kveta Peschke in the first round. And then they squeezed past Kirsten Flipkens and Sania Mirza (definitely a tricky pair).
After a great start against Niculescu and Begu, the second set was a tough one. And the match tiebreak was neck and neck until the Can-Mex pair pulled away at the very end.
Slow start to partnership
Dabrowski and Olmos had struggled, as they got their new partnership off the ground.
Olmos had qualified as an alternate with Dabrowski’s longtime BJK Cup teammate Sharon Fichman for the WTA Finals last November.
And Dabrowski, who had been looking for a permanent partner, appeared to have found one with longtime friend Luisa Stefani of Brazil.
But Stefani suffered a terrible knee injury at the US Open last September. She had surgery, and still isn’t back. And so it was back to the drawing board.
1-5 coming into Indian Wells
Dabrowski and Olmos lost to Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok in their opener in Adelaide. And then they were beaten by Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia in the first round in Sydney.
(Danilina and Haddad Maia ended up making the Australian Open final together; so in retrospect they can get some comfort from that).
They posted their first win together in the first round of the Australian Open, beating Clara Burel and Camila Osorio (as you would expect they should). Then they lost to Kirsten Flipkens and Sara Sorribes Tormo, as you wouldn’t expect they should.
In the Middle East, then drew Shuko Aoyama and Aleksandra Krunic in their opening match – twice. And ended up losing both times in a match tiebreak (in the second one, in Doha, it went 16-14).
So this effort in the desert is a encouraging breakthrough for them.