September 21, 2023

Open Court


ROLAND GARROS – The singles might not have gone nearly as well as most people hoped. But three top Canadian women are still alive in the women’s and mixed doubles.

It’s almost a throwback to the days when any Canadians who survived the first few days were in doubles – we’re looking at you, Daniel Nestor.

That’s not a good thing. But the fact that there are Canadians alive late into the second week is a very good thing.

And one is guaranteed to be in the mixed doubles final as Bianca Andreescu and partner Michael Venus take on Gabriela Dabrowski and Nathaniel Lammons Wednesday.

Andreescu and Venus were not in the original draw; they got in as alternates.

Dabrowski, who had steady partners in mixed for a few years, has played with various people of late but her partnership with the fairly obscure Lammons has paid off beautifully during the fortnight.

Mixed Doubles a Crapshoot

With the sudden-death deuces and match tiebreaks, as well as the fact that most of the partners are unfamiliar with each other, the mixed doubles event is usually always the wild card at any Grand Slam tournament.

In three matches, Andreescu and Venus have gone to a match tiebreak all three times – winning 10-8, 10-6 and 10-8.

In three matches, Dabrowski and Lammons have gone 10-8 in a match tiebreak, received a walkover from Taylor Townsend and Jamie Murray, and gone 11-9 against Asia Muhammad and Lloyd Glasspool.

It can only do her good.

Their match against Kostyuk and Arevalo in the quarterfinals featured some fun moments, some lucky shots, and some great exchanges.

Here’s what it looked like.

On the plus side, it’s great to see Andreescu – and she might well concur – playing just for fun, as opposed to the massive pressure she has felt every time she has taken the court in singles over the last few years.

Can Fernandez and Towsend go all the way?

Meanwhile, Leylah Fernandez and Townsend have gone through the field in impressive fashion, on their way to a quarterfinal clash with sisters Latisha and Hao-Ching Chan in Wedneday’s quarterfinals.

They took care of the odd pairing of Sara Errani and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first round, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

In the second round, they rolled to a 6-2, 6-1 win.

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And in the third round, they came up against Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani, the No. 8 seeds and a team that reunited this year, even if they haven’t quite found the groove they had when Stefani severely injured her knee in the 2021 US Open women’s doubles semifinals, costing her a full year.

It was a pretty good match, very much enjoyed by the large crowd on Court 14, as only Fernandez wasn’t a habitual serve-volleyer. Most of the action was at the net, and it was fast and furious and entertaining.

Dabrowski, who is generally pretty tough on herself on the court, was smiling most of the time. Hopefully she won’t discouraged by the loss; it felt like it relieved the pressure a little bit, overall.

Here’s what that looked like.

If you’re up early, there will be plenty of Canadian tennis to watch today.

There is also young Keegan Rice, in the second round of boys’ doubles, and wheelchair player Rob Shaw playing the No. 1 seed, Niels Vink.

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