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These four are currently the two most entertaining teams out there. They play real modern doubles and some of the reallies were truly outstanding. Really happy for Shuko and Ena.
 

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So happy for Shuko and Ena! 🤩
They had a fantastic week here! So entertaining to watch.

Particularly impressive week for Ena. She was the first Singles winner in qualifying and scored the last victory this week as well. She also held a MP in the second set against Gasanova to enter her maiden Singles Main Draw only to lose in three sets before Gasanova would take out Pliskova.
 

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Three out of the four (Aoyama 18, Shibahara 20 and Stefani 30) are at new career-high rankings after that final, with Carter at 34 (CHR 31). Kenin (29), Zidansek (56) and Rus (77) are also at new CHRs after this week.

I agree with all the comments above. It was an absolutely fantastic match between two pairs giving it their all, but still managing to smile all the way through. I wrote this in the Live Commentary thread, and I have no reason to change my mind:
Aoyama showing once again why she is one of the truly great net players in women's doubles.
It seems crazy that she is still heading upwards in the rankings when she has just turned 33.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
AwonderfulKiwi said:
Aoyama showing once again why she is one of the truly great net players in women's doubles.
It seems crazy that she is still heading upwards in the rankings when she has just turned 33.
I’ve been following her since her breakthrough (2013) and it’s amazing to see the progress. She is an inspiration on many aspects. It’s impressive to see the power she can generate with her height and weight as well. Saw some footage of her training in japan during the lockdown, she is very flexible for a 33 years old. She might be one of the fastest and fittest player on tour. I can’t help being a fan of her, really.
 

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Ready for these girls to get to the top tend and really fight for a medal in Tokyo
 
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Happy for them, but the WTA article...seriously, who writes these?
The Japanese duo, who first paired at the 2019 Toray Pan Pacific, capped off a successful week that began with having to save four match points to defeat Andrea Klepac and Marta Kostyuk in the first round, prevailing 4-6, 7-5, 12-10, and included a dominant win over top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Krejcikova in the quarterfinals.
Umm...I don't recall which was their first pairing, but considering they made the friggin' finals in San Jose that was in August 2019, Pan Pacific certainly wasn't the first. Heck, just a quick wiki glance is enough to find this out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Happy for them, but the WTA article...seriously, who writes these?

Umm...I don't recall which was their first pairing, but considering they made the friggin' finals in San Jose that was in August 2019, Pan Pacific certainly wasn't the first. Heck, just a quick wiki glance is enough to find this out.
San Jose was actually their very first tournament together, they have met in Charleston (April 2019), Aoyama was with Marozava and Carter played with Shibahara. Shuko had a hit with Carter/Shibahara at that time. It was a bold move from Aoyama to partner Shibahara and it worked. I think no one (from the top 30) wanted/was able to partner Aoyama as well (She then broke with Marozava to partner Krunic and then Shibahara). So Pan Pacific was their second tournament together.
 

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Happy for them, but the WTA article...seriously, who writes these?

Umm...I don't recall which was their first pairing, but considering they made the friggin' finals in San Jose that was in August 2019, Pan Pacific certainly wasn't the first. Heck, just a quick wiki glance is enough to find this out.
Also from that article:

Aoyama/Shibahara started Wednesday's final strong, breaking immediately to earn a 2-0 lead in the opening set thanks to a smart poach at the net from Shibahara on a deciding point.

No, it wasn't. As I wrote in the Live Commentary thread, Aoyama won the deciding points in BOTH the first two games.

And:

But Carter/Stefani could not conjure an answer to Shibahara's standout play on Wednesday. As Aoyama held her ground in the baseline exchanges, the 22-year-old dominated the space at the net.

The only time Aoyama was at the back of the court was when she was serving. Doesn't the writer know the difference between the two? I'll give you a hint - Shibahara is a LOT taller! :eek::rolleyes:
 

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She might be one of the fastest and fittest player on tour. I can’t help being a fan of her, really.
She really is jacked, pure fiber and muscle. I wonder if there's a reason for her late blooming. She's always been good, but never this good.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
She really is jacked, pure fiber and muscle. I wonder if there's a reason for her late blooming. She's always been good, but never this good.
Might be her physical condition actually, she wasn’t that muscular back when she reach Wimbly SF. Her partnerships weren’t as good as well (I really praise Ena for being a reliable doubles partner). More importantly she told a japanese media that the fact she is able to communicate in japanese with Ena is helping her and boosting her play and confidence. Look back in 2016 she partnered Ninomiya (a nobody at that time) and won lots of ITF titles (even took a set to Makarova/Vesnina at AO), Ninomiya was able to climb the ranking after that. Communication is key in doubles and I believe it explains her late blooming. Ena’s forgiveness and positivity allowed that too. Last thing I noticed is her constant will to improve, especially her serve which she has changed really often (routine, technique). She is still struggling to hold serve sometimes but she get to win more free points thanks to it, it has a better pace (and she is using the slice cleverly).
 

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Also, for someone who is close to the shortest on tour, Aoyama actually has tremendous power in that double-handed forehand. She tripped up Stefani and Carter more than once in the final because the ball got there so much more quickly than they expected.
 

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Also from that article:

Aoyama/Shibahara started Wednesday's final strong, breaking immediately to earn a 2-0 lead in the opening set thanks to a smart poach at the net from Shibahara on a deciding point.

No, it wasn't. As I wrote in the Live Commentary thread, Aoyama won the deciding points in BOTH the first two games.

And:

But Carter/Stefani could not conjure an answer to Shibahara's standout play on Wednesday. As Aoyama held her ground in the baseline exchanges, the 22-year-old dominated the space at the net.

The only time Aoyama was at the back of the court was when she was serving. Doesn't the writer know the difference between the two? I'll give you a hint - Shibahara is a LOT taller! :eek::rolleyes:
Ena is a lot taller, a lot younger (though being fair Asian genes don't really age until they are like over 60), had a bunch of bandages on her arm and legs, and have a much longer hair...even without knowing their faces, it should be rather obvious from afar with those distinctions you'd think.
 

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She really is jacked, pure fiber and muscle. I wonder if there's a reason for her late blooming. She's always been good, but never this good.
Her serve isn't as much of a weakness as it was a few years ago. But she's only started to focus solely on doubles over the few years or so and I think she's just found a partner who complements her game and has good chemistry with. She had some OK-ish results with Marozava but they were never going to contend for big titles. It still must have been a bit of a gamble for Aoyama because Shibahara was hardly an established tour player when they got together in 2019 but it seems to be paying off handsomely!

I must say I loved her partnership with Krunic! They were such a cute team.
 
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