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Began playing tennis at age 13 at junior high school ... Coached by Yoshio Tanikawa; does off-court training with Koji Kawakami ... Favorite surface is hard; best shot is backhand ... Nickname is Shii-chan ... Father, Shuichi, is a businessman; mother, Chieko, is a housewife; has an older brother, Kazuhiko ... Graduated from high school in March 1995 and attended Sonoda University for two years on a full scholarship studying English and Chinese; is currently on leave from university to play tennis ... Went to the same high school as former Top 10 player Kimiko Date, whom she admires for all she achieved ... Also admires her parents ... Favorite city to visit is Kyoto and the Kiyomizu Temple for the beautiful view.
Winner: 2002 - ITF/Haibara-JPN; 1999 - ITF/Claremont-USA, ITF/Noda-JPN; 1998 - ITF/Noda-JPN; 1997 - ITF/Caboolture-AUS; 1996 - ITF/Taipei-CHN, ITF/Kugayama-JPN, ITF/Kyoto-JPN.
Finalist (3): 2005 - Auckland; 2004 - Hobart; 2003 - Birmingham.
Semifinalist (3): 2005 - Tokyo [Pan Pacific]; 2003 - Acapulco; 2001 - Oklahoma City.
Winner (8): 2006 - Amelia Island (w/Srebotnik); 2005 - Auckland (w/Srebotnik), Bangkok (w/Dulko); 2004 - Hobart (w/Okamoto), MontrTal [Canadian Open] (w/Sugiyama), Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Srebotnik); 2002 - Birmingham (w/Callens), Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Miyagi).
Finalist (4): 2006 - Acapulco (w/Loit); 2005 - Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Vento-Kabchi); 2003 - Miami, Sarasota (both w/Miyagi).
Japanese Fed Cup Team 1999-2001, 2003-04, 2006. Japanese Olympic Team 2000, 2004.
Career in Review
1994 - First Tour qualifying in Japan and ITF Circuit.
1995 - 1-4 in Tour qualifying and ITF events.
1996 - Won first three ITF singles titles.
1997 - Tour debut as qualifier at Tokyo [Princess Cup] (d. No.30 Rubin 1r; l. to Sßnchez-Vicario); won ITF/Caboolture-AUS.
1998 - Qualified for Birmingham and Pattaya City; won ITF/Noda-JPN.
1999 - Qualified for Tokyo [Princess Cup] and QuTbec City (2r at both); won two ITF Circuit titles.
2000 - First Top 100 finish; played first majors at Wimbledon (qualified, 2r) and US Open (d. No.22 Schnyder en route to 3r); Tour QF debut at Tokyo [Princess Cup] (d. Sugiyama; l. to Seles); 1r at Sydney Olympics.
2001 - Tier I QF debut at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] (d. No.10 Coetzer in 2r for first Top 10 win); first Tour SF at Oklahoma City (l. to Seles in 3s).
2002 - Won ITF/Haibara-JPN; won first Tour doubles titles at Birmingham (w/Callens) and Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Miyagi); reached only Tour QF of season in last event at Pattaya City.
2003 - First Tour final at Birmingham (d. Sharapova in SF; l. to Mag.Maleeva); 4r at Wimbledon (d. No.9 Hantuchova 12-10 third set in 2r for second Top 10 victory of career, saving 3mp and trailing 5-2 in the third); w/Sugiyama,marked first time since Æ96 two Japanese women in Wimbledon 4r; also won ITF/Gifu-JPN; SF at Acapulco, Hobart QF (as qualifier), US Open 3r; consecutive doubles finals w/Miyagi at Miami, Sarasota.
2004 - Best season to date; reached career-first Grand Slam QF at US Open, falling to Davenport (third Japanese woman to reach QF there in Open Era, after Sawamatsu-1975, Date-1993,94); second career final at Hobart (l. to Frazier); first career Roland Garros 4r (d. No.16 seed Schnyder, l. to No.2 seed S.Williams); fell 1r at Athens Olympics; member of Japanese Fed Cup Team that l. to Argentina 4-1 in 1r; in doubles, won Hobart (w/Okamoto) and MontrTal [Canadian Open] (w/Sugiyama), and SF at Olympics (w/Sugiyama).
2005 - Second straight Top 40 finish after third career Tour singles final, two victories over Top 10 players and solid doubles results; runner-up at Auckland (d. top seed Frazier in SF; l. to Srebotnik 57 75 64; teamed w/Srebotnik to capture sixth career Tour doubles title); first Tier I SF at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] (d. world No.7 Dementieva 63 64 in QF; l. to eventual champion Sharapova; first Japanese semifinalist there since Date in 1995); two QF, at Amelia Island (d. No.6 Myskina 76(5) 76(7) in 3r for career-best win; l. to Petrova in 3s) and Beijing (l. to No.1 Sharapova); 4r at Miami (l. to Sharapova) and 3r four times, incl. Tier I Charleston (l. to Vaidisova 76 third set; afterwards on April 18, reached career-high ranking of No.21), Tier I Toronto [Canadian Open] (l. to Myskina) and US Open (l. to Schnyder); lost early at three other majors; won seventh career Tour doubles title at Bangkok (w/Dulko) and finished runner-up at Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Vento-Kabchi); career-high doubles ranking of No.18 came on June 6; withdrew from QuTbec City w/right shoulder injury.