It was Ai who beat Hingis 4 and 4 in Atlanta '96.
And yes, Kimiko did play doubles at the Princess Cup back in '02, but pulled out.
I always thought Kimiko had the weapons to take her rankings further up.
Y'know, it frustrates me to think how much more she could've achieved if she had played more professional matches in her career. Besides Ai, nearly all Japanese players severely restrict their schedules for various reasons and it's really putting a big dent in their rise to the top. We've seen it with Shinobu and Naoko, and we've definately seen it with Kimiko (although I didn't think she was weak on indoor carpet at all!).
The fact that Kimiko's made it to no.4 with the schedule she's had shows just how much potential she had. I'm not making any guarantees that had she played more p.year, she'd automatically be assured a GS Champion's trophy - but at least she'd have a bigger shot at getting one.
Also, IMO, she's (and Japanese players for that matter) so inconsistent b/c of the lack of match play. How can you expect to maintain your strong form if you don't keep letting your body get used to improving by playing lots of matches? OK, Kimiko's had her fair share of injuries and mental lapses, but so have many other GS champions.
It really is a shame to lose Japan's (and Asia) strongest candidate for its 1st GS champion