Thursday, February 11, 2021

Bay Area native survives scare to stay perfect in doubles

   Seventh-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan beat Australian wild cards Lizette Cabrera and Maddison Inglis 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-0 today in the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. 
   The 5-foot-1 (1.54-meter) Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 22-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, improved to 11-0 this year. They won titles in Abu Dhabi last month and Melbourne last week.
   Aoyama and Shibahara are scheduled to meet 12th-seeded Hayley Carter, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Luisa Stefani of Brazil on Saturday (PST) in a rematch of the Abu Dhabi final. Aoyama and Shibahara won that encounter 7-6 (5), 6-4. 
   Last year, Carter and Stefani defeated Aoyama and Shibahara 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 in the second round of the U.S. Open, and the Japanese pair gained revenge, 6-4, 7-5, in the third round of the French Open.
   Fans will be barred from the Australian Open for the next five days because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Melbourne suburbs.
   Also today, Sharon Fichman of Canada and Giuliana Olmos, a native of Fremont in the Bay Area who plays for Mexico, beat Lucie Hradecka and Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round of doubles, together or separately, in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
   Pliskova's twin sister, Karolina Pliskova, is ranked sixth in singles after ascending to No. 1 in 2017.
   Fichman and Olmos will meet Leylah Fernandez, an 18-year-old left-hander from Canada, and Heather Watson of Great Britain. Fernandez and Watson defeated Australian wild cards Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock 7-5, 6-2.
   In the second round of men's doubles, second-seeded Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia dispatched Mackenzie McDonald, a 25-year-old native of Piedmont in the Bay Area, and Tommy Paul of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-1, 6-4.
   Shibahara also advanced in mixed doubles, teaming with Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14), a New Zealand native who plays for his mother's native Japan, in a 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over Germany's Laura Siegemund and Kevin Krawietz in the opening round.
   ATP Challenger Tour — Top-seeded Andre Goransson (Cal, 2011-14) of Sweden and David Pel of the Netherlands edged Sander Arends of the Netherlands and Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic to reach the semifinals of the €88,520 ($107,357) Cherbourg (France) Challenger. 

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