Saturday, August 28, 2021

Bay Area native wins fifth WTA doubles title of year

   Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara will go into the U.S. Open with confidence.
   The top-seeded pair, from Japan, beat unseeded Sania Mirza of India and Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 7-5, 6-3 today in the final of the inaugural Tennis in The Land, a WTA 250 tournament in Cleveland.
   The 5-foot-1 (1.54-meter) Aoyama, 33, and the 5-foot-7 (1.70-meter) Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, survived match tiebreakers of 10-8 in the quarterfinals and 10-7 in the semifinals en route to their fifth title of the year. They will remain tied at a career-high No. 9 in the world in doubles.
   The 34-year-old Mirza, formerly ranked No. 1 in doubles, took 2018 and 2019 off to have her first child.
   The first round of singles in the U.S. Open is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Doubles matches are set to begin Wednesday.
   Aoyama and Shibahara reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in February and the semifinals at Wimbledon in July, but neither has had much success in the U.S. Open. Playing together at Flushing Meadows for the first time last year, they lost in the second round.
   Aoyama has never advanced past the third round of the U.S. Open in nine appearances with nine different partners. Shibahara has never gone past the second round at Flushing Meadows in three appearances with three different teammates.

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