Monday, September 20, 2021

Bay Area native to make WTA Finals debut in doubles

Katie Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the San Fran-
cisco Bay Area, snapped a six-match skid today
in Columbus, Ohio. 2019 photo by Paul Bauman
   Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan have qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time, the WTA announced today.
   Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, have won a tour-leading five titles this year, including the biggest one of their careers in the Miami Open. They also reached the Wimbledon semifinals and Australian Open quarterfinals.
   Aoyama, only 5-foot-1 (1.54 meters), and Shibahara became the first Japanese players to qualify for the WTA Finals in doubles since Ai Sugiyama advanced to the 2008 semifinals with Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia.
   The WTA Finals, the week of Nov. 8 in Guadalajara, features the top eight singles players and doubles teams of the year.
    WTA Tour — In a battle of California teenagers, Katie "Serve And" Volynets edged wild card Katrina Scott 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5) in 2 hours, 55 minutes in the first round of a $125,000 tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, snapped a six-match losing streak and improved to 2-0 against Scott, 17, of Woodland Hills in the Los Angeles region.
   Volynets qualified for Wimbledon this year and lost to Romanian veteran Irina-Camelia "Ain't Too Proud To" Begu in the first round. Scott reached the second round of last year's U.S. Open as a wild card in her senior Grand Slam debut.
   Volynets, ranked No. 185, is set to play Lauren Davis, seeded fifth and ranked No. 98, of Boca Raton, Fla., for the first time. The 27-year-old Davis, only 5-foot-2 (1.57 meters), beat Usue Arconada of Naples, Fla., 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday. 

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