COLLEGE PARK, MD -- Along with recent SB Nation interviewee Genie Bouchard, Stephanie Dubois is one of a growing number of Canadians who are threatening to make the 2010s "The Decade of the Maple Leaf" in tennis.
Dubois, 24, is into her first WTA quarterfinal in almost six years, coming back to defeat Britain's Heather Watson (yet another recent SB Nation interviewee) 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the second round of the Citi Open in College Park, Maryland.
Dubois has been having a spectacular summer. She snuck into the main draw of Wimbledon as a lucky loser, and made it into the second round before losing a tight match to No. 11 seed Andrea Petkovic in three sets. She followed up that run with a victory in the challenger in Granby, Quebec, giving her a seven-match win streak heading into her quarterfinal match Friday.
After her win over Watson, I caught up with Stephanie to discuss her comeback, confidence, and Canada.
SBN: Stephanie, you're into your second ever WTA quarterfinal, and it's been a while since the last one [at Quebec City 2005]. Must feel pretty good, eh? [Ed note: Yes, I speak fluent Canadian]
Stephanie Dubois: Yeah, it feels pretty good. I've been playing very well in the past few weeks. Obviously it's nice to be in the quarters, and I hope I can go further. I'm playing good tennis, so I'm happy.
SBN: It was very hot out there today -- how much a part of the match was that?
Stephanie Dubois: It was very humid ... it's tough conditions here in Washington, but it's not the first time I played here. I think I managed to do pretty well. You need to drink a lot, to recuperate, but my fitness work is for a reason. In this moment, I think it made the difference.
SBN: The main difference in this match, it seemed, was that you were a lot more aggressive than she was late in the match, going for a lot more shots. Was that part of your plan for dealing with the heat, to keep points short?
Stephanie Dubois: Um, no. I like to be aggressive, but I can be patient too. I think today I needed to provoke a little bit more, make her run a little bit, and be aggressive. She's a very good player, she's consistent. So I needed to make something happen, to get a short ball. I played my game today. I'm happy because I made unforced errors at the beginning, but I changed some things to improve that, putting more spin on the ball. So it was good.
SBN: What's changed that's allowed you to play so much better these last few weeks?
Stephanie Dubois: I just have more confidence, and I'm having fun on the court, too. I'm enjoying playing well. I've been working with my coach and fitness coach, and I think it makes a difference. But the first thing is to have fun and do your best. But also playing more aggressive, and taking more risks.
SBN: You're getting closer and closer to being back in the top 100 now...
Stephanie Dubois: Yep!
SBN: Would that be a big sign for you that you've made it back where you want to be?
Stephanie Dubois: Yeah! Short term is for me to get back in the top 100, and long term is top 50. But I always thought I belonged in the top 100. Last year I didn't have a good year...but it's okay. I admitted it. But I worked on things when I came back, and now obviously I have a lot of confidence and a lot of fun, so I'll continue to improve, for sure.
SBN: Do you think you can win this title?
Stephanie Dubois: Yeah, when you come to a tournament, you come to win. That's the goal. You go match by match, but...the way I'm playing right now, my confidence is high. Everybody is beatable. So, yeah (laughs).
SBN: You are one of the Canadians who is doing well right now, and it seems like Canadians are doing better than ever.
Stephanie Dubois: Yep!
SBN: Milos Raonic, Rebecca Marino...do you think there's a reason why all this Canadian success is happening at the same time?
Stephanie Dubois: Well, we have a lot of talent in Canada. It's a big country (laughs). I think we have good players, and we've been doing really well in the past few years. If somebody starts doing well, it helps the others to do well also. So things are good, and we have good players now in Canada now.. Yep. (laughs)
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