Japanese Duo In Quest for 3rd Title in 2021

By Daniel Perissé

Japan’s Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama will play against Chatanooga, Tn. Native Hayley Carter and Brazilian Luisa Stefani in the Miami Open presented by Itaú Women’s Doubles final aiming for their third title this season.

In the first semifinal, Shibahara and Aoyama defeated Rochester, Ny., native Bethanie Mattek-Sands – who was seeking her second title in Miami, after winning in 2016 – and Polish Iga Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion in singles, 3-6, 7-6(4), 10-2.

The strong Japanese doubles team won back-to-back titles in Abu Dhabi and at the Yarra Valley Classic this season and reached the Australian Open quarterfinals. This is the first tournament in which they advance from their first match since the Grand Slam run.

The second semifinal had Carter and Stefani defeating Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexican Giuliana Olmos also in the match tie-break, 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.

Carter and Stefani started playing together last year and are already ranked among the top 40 in the WTA doubles rankings. They won two titles, one in 2019 and one in 2020, and reached the Abu Dhabi and Adelaide finals this season.

In the head-to-head series, Aoyama and Shibahara lead the series 3-1, including two wins this season – in the Abu Dhabi final, 7-6(5), 6-4) and in the Australian Open round of 16, 6-2, 6-4.

The Women’s Doubles final is scheduled for Sunday, April 4th, at Hard Rock Stadium.