Canadian tennis players will leave Toronto 2015 Pan American Games with two tennis medals after Gabriela Dabrowski and Carol Zhao won women’s double gold on Thursday night.
The Canadians beat Mexico’s Victoria Rodriguez and Marcela Zacarias 6-1, 4-6, 10-5 to take the Pan Am title. For Dabrowski, it’s her second medal in as many days after she and Philip Bester won mixed doubles silver a day earlier at the home of Tennis Canada.
A day after losing to Maria Irigoyen and Guido Andreozzi of Argentina in the mixed doubles match, Dabrowski was ready to taste gold with Zhao, though the Canadian was less than pleased as to how they played the second set after dominating the opener.
“Not happy with the way I finished the second set, but it is nice to win the tiebreaker,” Dabrowski said. In the Pan Am Games the third set is a first-to-10 points super-tiebreak contest if contestants split the first two sets.
Zhao seemed to be of one mind with her teammate, saying “we were in a position to win, they played a tight game in the second set and we played better in the tie breaker.”
The win was particularly rewarding for Zhao who originally wasn’t on the Canadian Pan Am team, however an injury to Sharon Fichman opened up a spot for the 20-year old from Richmond Hill, Ontario.
“It feels amazing,” Zhao said. “You don’t get many chances to play in games like this in your home town. Winning it on home court was really incredible.”
Asked if she was additionally motivated to win gold after finishing second with Bester a day earlier, Dabrowski was philosophical.
“In tennis, every day is a new day. You can play terrible one game and great the next.”
The two medals for Dabrowski and Team Canada in tennis is a big success for a nation that has grown leaps and bounds at the global sport in a short time, with top players across the board the last couple of years. Canada did not win any Pan Am tennis medals four years ago in Guadalajara.