Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski wins mixed doubles at Australian Open

Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and her doubles partner, Croatia's Mate Pavic. (Dita Alangkara/AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Gabriela Dabrowski sailed a return past Timea Babos and threw her hands up in the air in triumph.

The Ottawa native had just given herself and partner Mate Pavic of Croatia the Australian Open mixed doubles title.

Dabrowski and Pavic saved a championship point before combining to beat Rohan Bopanna of India and Babos of Hungary 2-6, 6-4, 11-9 under a closed roof Sunday at Rod Laver Arena.

"What an amazing few weeks in Australia," Dabrowski tweeted. "A big congrats and thank you to my mixed partner, Mate Pavic, you are on fire."

The victory was the second career major title for Dabrowski, who became the first Canadian woman to win a Grand Slam last year when she took the French Open mixed championship with Bopanna.

Dabrowski and Pavic were teamed up for the first time in Australia, where they hadn’t dropped a set on the way to the final.

They rebounded Sunday from their first set loss to win the second, setting up the match tiebreak — a race to 10 points with a margin of two.

Dabrowski and Pavic began the tiebreak strong, going up 3-0 then 6-3 before Bopanna and Babos tied it 6-all.

Bopanna and Babos rallied for a 9-8 lead, setting up championship point, but two straight Pavic aces put the Canadian-Croatian duo back on top before Dabrowski returned Babos’ serve for the winner.

"A couple of weeks ago in Brisbane, I read an article where it said that Bopanna was playing with Babos and I hadn’t spoken to him yet about playing," Dabrowski said. "I had a lot of other things going on, so I was kind of just procrastinating (about) the decision, I suppose, to find a partner for the mixed doubles.

"Then after I read that article, straightaway I messaged some people and Mate was one of those people and he responded almost immediately."

Asked if she was surprised that her French Open-winning partner was playing with someone else at the Australian Open, Dabrowski replied: "Yeah, I mean, only because we hadn’t spoken about it. I wasn’t about to go find another partner without talking to him first. But this is the business and this is the industry that we are in, and you kind of just have to have a tough skin."

The season-opening Australia swing has been a good one for the Canadian.

The 25-year-old teamed with China’s Xu Yifan to win the Sydney International women’s doubles title earlier this month.

Pavic has collected two Grand Slam titles within 24 hours. He teamed with Austrian Oliver Marach to win the men’s doubles title Saturday night, in the match that followed Caroline Wozniacki’s win over Simona Halep in the women’s singles final.

Babos, who won the women’s doubles title on Friday, and Bopanna were seemingly in control of the final, which was played indoors after organizers enforced the tournament’s extreme heat policy as the temperature neared 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

But Pavic and Dabrowski recovered to level the match in the second set and then raced to a 6-3 lead in the deciding extended tiebreaker.

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