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An interesting article from 'Asahi Shinbun' regarding Shinobu after her victory against Elene Dementieva at the '05 PPO :)

TENNIS/Toray Pan Pacific Open: Asagoe surprises everyone_except herself

Shinobu is the picture of confidence as she dismantles the favored Elena Dementieva.

Forget about Maria Sharapova and her paparazzi posse. Let's talk about someone else. Let's talk about Shinobu Asagoe.

Better yet, let's let Asagoe talk about Asagoe.

``Don't write about Maria, write about me,'' Asagoe instructed the media assemblage on Friday after upsetting Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

``And don't write that I was surprised to win. This is the reason I practice. Yes, I'm cocky. That's one of my strengths.''

Asagoe might not have been surprised at the 6-3, 6-4 outcome, but just about everyone else at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium was. For good reason.

Dementieva is ranked No. 7 in the world and has won four singles titles and 500 million yen at age 23. She was runner-up in two Grand Slam events last year. Asagoe, 28, is ranked 32nd, has earned a little over 100 million yen and her claim to fame is last year's triumph in something called the Hobart Open. Which ain't a whole lot to be cocky about.

Asagoe's win sets up a Saturday semifinal against-cue scriptwriter-Sharapova, the WTA's new flagship and a fairly confident personality in her own right. The reigning Wimbledon champ calmly swatted aside Russian compatriot Elena Likhovtsea in straight sets Friday. The other semi features two-time defending champion Lindsay Davenport and Daniela Hantuchova.

Asagoe's strategy was to stay away from Dementieva's deadly backhand and not let her opponent force her behind the baseline.

``I wanted to take her backhand away,'' said Asagoe, who clinched the match when Dementieva double-faulted.

Asagoe and Sharapova have clashed twice: Asagoe won a three-set duel in 2003 and Sharapova got revenge with a three-set win last year in Miami.

But Sharapova is playing at another level now and it will take more than attitude to drill through her on-court permafrost. It'll take game, and lots of it.

So, Shinobu, what are you gonna do about Maria?

``I lost to her last time, but things have changed. I know how to finish it off now. I used to tend to give up toward the end of my matches, but now I can concentrate from start to finish,'' Asagoe said.

``If I can improve on my first serve the match should be a good one, and I'll be able to find my way through it. She has cracks in her defense and in her mental game,'' Asagoe added, without elaborating.

Seventeen-year-old Sharapova erased Likhovtsea 6-3, 6-3 without breaking a sweat and doesn't seem the least bit daunted by the prospect of facing Asagoe, who is 13 centimeters closer to the ground than her 1.83-meter opponent.

``Hmmmm. I played Shinobu a long time ago,'' Sharapova said. ``I hear that she's playing well. But I'll just focus on what I do.

``You can't worry about how good or bad the player across the net is, or how big or important the tournament is, you have to worry about yourself.''

World No. 1 Davenport crushed Czech Iveta Benesova 6-1, 6-2, but knows it won't be another cakewalk Saturday when she meets Slovakia's Hantuchova, who got past Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-6, 7-6.

``Benesova made a lot of errors and was impatient. I was trying to get it over with quickly,'' Davenport said. ``(Saturday's) match will be very different. The level of competition will go up and I hope to be able to raise my game accordingly.''(IHT/Asahi: February 5,2005)

I really love Shinobu! She's honest, but not in a harsh and "in-your-face" way :worship: She can comment on her and her opponent's game without being overly critical, yet at the same time we know she's speaking her mind.

I hope we can read more articles about her :)

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I love that article because there are so few intervies of shinobu. And more power to her for saying to not write about sharapova because you know if she didn't they would only write about her. Heck no one not even the japanese fans were counting on shinobu to get through.
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