Canada’s Dabrowski a win away from Australian Open mixed doubles title

Ottawa tennis player Gabriela Dabrowski has reached the final of the mixed doubles competition at the Australian Open. Here’s a list of Five Things to Know ahead of her championship match Sunday:

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Dabrowski and partner Mate Pavic of Croatia have looked dominant at the first Grand Slam of the season.

The No. 8 seeds have yet to lose a set in mixed doubles play, the latest victory coming Friday in a 6-1, 6-4 decision over No. 3 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia and Bruno Soares of Brazil.

Pavic’s serve has been his best weapon while Dabrowski has showed off her versatility with impressive lobs, crisp volleys and powerful groundstrokes.

THUNDER DOWN UNDER

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

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

The third seeds lost only four games in a lopsided victory over top-seeded Latisha Chan and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova for their first title of the young campaign.

Dabrowski and Xu won two tournaments together last season and qualified for the WTA Finals.

FAMILIAR FOE

Dabrowski and Pavic will have a good handle on the scouting report for the mixed doubles final against India’s Rohan Bopanna and Hungary’s Timea Babos.

Dabrowski won her first Grand Slam title with Bopanna last year at the French Open.

Meanwhile, both Babos and Pavic have enjoyed success in the other doubles draws in Melbourne.

Babos won the women’s doubles title and Pavic will play in the men’s doubles final with Oliver Marach of Austria.

CASHING IN

Win or lose, Dabrowski is set to earn a decent payday for her efforts.

The mixed doubles champions will split a purse of $175,000 Australian dollars (C$174,835) while the finalists will split $90,000 ($89,907).

Dabrowski also earned $45,000 ($44,956) for reaching the women’s doubles quarterfinal.

The mixed doubles prize money is a small fraction of the payouts given to the singles champions. The victors in the men’s and women’s singles draws will pocket a cool $4 million ($3.997M) apiece.

Total prize money for the Australian Open rose 10 per cent this year to $55 million ($54.957M).

RANKING SURGE

Buoyed by her strong play over the last year, Dabrowski currently sits at a career high No. 15 in the WTA Tour’s doubles rankings.

She cracked the top 100 in May 2013 and has risen 20 positions since this time last year.

Dabrowski did not enter the singles competition in Melbourne. She’s ranked No. 323 in singles.

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