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Lives in Tokyo... Father is Juichi (passed away in 2007); mother is Masako; siblings are Ryusuke, Junko ... Started playing tennis at age 6 after being introduced to the sport by her parents ... Was tennis champion at Sonoda High School (graduated in 1989) ... Left-handed; encouraged to play right-handed to follow Japanese custom ... Ran 2004 London Marathon in 3h30min ... Funded building of a school in Laos ... Holds some "oldest player ever" records: oldest player ever to beat a Top 10 player (set record by beating Safina at 2010 Roland Garros at 39y/7m/26d, then surpassed that by beating Stosur at 2010 Osaka at 40y/17d); second-oldest to win a WTA title (won 2009 Seoul at 38y/11m/30d, oldest is Billie Jean King at 1983 Birmingham at 39y/7m/23d); second-oldest to reach a Grand Slam 3r (at Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2013, oldest is 45-year-old Richards at 1979 US Open) and oldest to rank inside Top 50 since Billie Jean King at age 40 in March 1984 (Date-Krumm broke back into Top 50 in August 2010).
Winner (8): 2009 - Seoul; 1996 - Tokyo [Japan Open], San Diego; 1995 - Tokyo [Pan Pacific]; 1994 - Sydney, Tokyo [Japan Open]; 1993 - Tokyo [Japan Open]; 1992 - Tokyo [Japan Open].
Finalist (7): 2010 - Osaka; 1995 - Miami, Tokyo [Japan Open], Strasbourg; 1993 - Osaka, Tokyo [Nichirei]; 1991 - Los Angeles.
Winner (6): 2013 - Pattaya City (w/Dellacqua), Monterrey (w/Babos), Strasbourg (w/Scheepers); 2012 - Copenhagen (w/Fujiwara); 2011 - Osaka (w/Zhang); 1996 - Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Sugiyama).
Finalist (4): 2012 - Monterrey (w/Zhang), Osaka (w/Watson); 2009 - Guangzhou (w/Sun); 1992 - Tokyo [Japan Open] (w/Rehe).
Japanese Fed Cup Team, 1989-92, 94-96, 2010, 2012-13; Japanese Olympic Team, 1992, 1996.
Career in Review
2015 - Reached 2r three times; fell 1r three times (incl. Australian Open) and in qualifying 10 times (incl. other three majors).
2014 - SF at Monterrey (l. to Jaksic); QF twice at Pattaya City (l. to Makarova) and Birmingham (l. to Dellacqua); reached 2r three times; fell 1r eight times (incl. all four majors) and in qualifying four times.
2013 - Near-Top 50 season (finishing No.54); QF at Seoul; reached 3r twice (Australian Open, Wimbledon - was second-oldest player in Open Era to reach a Grand Slam 3r, after 45-year-old Renee Richards at 1979 US Open) and 2r six times; fell 1r six times (incl. other two majors) and in qualifying twice; won three WTA doubles titles.
2012 - Reached 2r twice; fell 1r 12 times (incl. all four majors and Copenhagen - l. to Babos 16 76(4) 75; held 2mp at 5-3 third set) and in qualifying twice; won one WTA doubles title; won three singles titles on ITF Circuit.
2011 - Third full season back on tour (finished No.100); QF at 's-Hertogenbosch; reached 2r five times (incl. Wimbledon); fell 1r 18 times (incl. other three majors) and in qualifying three times; won one WTA doubles title; won one singles title and one doubles title on ITF Circuit; struggled w/left hand injury in summer (retired in Cincinnati 1r and subsequently withdrew from Dallas).
2010 - Second full season back on tour (finished No.46); had strong 11-5 fall season, highlighted by another WTA final at Osaka (l. to Tanasugarn in oldest known WTA final - combined age 73); also reached SF at Bali (l. to Ivanovic), QF at Seoul, 3r at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] and 2r at Beijing; went 5-2 against Top 20 players in fall (d. No.20 Pavlyuchenkova, No.15 Sharapova, No.8 Stosur, No.13 Peer and No.11 Li); went 16-14 from start of year through US Open, best results being QF at Auckland and seven 2r finishes (incl. Roland Garros); fell 1r six times (incl. Australian Open, US Open); win over Safina in French Open 1r made her oldest player ever to beat a Top 10 player (at 39y/7m/26d) and win over Stosur in Osaka surpassed that (at 40y/17d).
2009 - First full season back on tour (finished No.82); won eighth WTA title at Seoul (d. Medina Garrigues in final; at 38y/11m/30d, was second-oldest player in Open Era to win a WTA title after Billie Jean King, who won 1983 Birmingham at 39y/7m/23d); was also longest ever gap between WTA titles (13y/1m between 1996 San Diego and 2009 Seoul); returned to Top 100 afterwards on September 28 (rose from No.155 to No.100; first time in Top 100 since retiring in 1996); SF at Bali (l. to Bartoli); fell 1r nine times (incl. Australian Open, Wimbledon) and in qualifying twice (Roland Garros, US Open); also won two singles titles on ITF Circuit.
2008 - Un-retired in May; initially played on ITF Circuit (won three singles titles and two doubles titles); played two WTA events in fall, falling in qualifying at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] (as WC) and in 1r at Tokyo [Japan Open] (as WC).
1997-2007 - Only appearance came in doubles at Tokyo [Princess Cup] in September 2002 (as WC w/Saeki, ret. vs. top seeds Black/Likhovtseva in 1r w/left Achilles tendon injury).
1996 - Won two WTA titles at Tokyo [Japan Open] (d. Frazier in final) and San Diego (d. Sánchez-Vicario in final); SF four times at Sydney (l. to Davenport), Indian Wells (l. to Martínez), Wimbledon (third Grand Slam SF; l. to Graf) and Tokyo [Nichirei] (l. to Seles); QF four times (incl. Olympics, WTA Finals); announced on September 24 she would retire at end of season and played last match of first career in WTA Finals QFs (l. to Hingis); when taken off rankings on December 23, 1996 at No.8, having spent 149 total weeks in Top 10 (all in 153-week span between January 17, 1994 and December 23, 1996).
1995 - Won one WTA title at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] (d. Davenport in final); runner-up three times at Miami (l. to Graf), Tokyo [Japan Open] (l. to Frazier) and Strasbourg (l. to Davenport); SF twice at Sydney (ret. vs. Davenport) and Roland Garros (second Grand Slam SF; l. to Sánchez-Vicario); QF four times (incl. Wimbledon, WTA Finals); set career-high No.4 on November 13 (was Asian ranking record for almost 18 years until Li surpassed it on October 28, 2013).
1994 - Won two WTA titles at Sydney (d. Fernandez in final) and Tokyo [Japan Open] (d. Frazier in final); SF four times at Australian Open (first Grand Slam SF; l. to Graf), Strasbourg (l. to Fernandez), Montréal (l. to Sánchez-Vicario) and WTA Finals (l. to Sabatini); QF twice (incl. US Open); made Top 10 debut on January 17 (rose from No.13 to No.9 - first Japanese in Top 10, since joined by Sugiyama).
1993 - Won one WTA title at Tokyo [Japan Open] (d. Rottier in final); runner-up twice at Osaka (l. to Novotna in final) and Tokyo [Nichirei] (l. to Coetzer in final); SF at Miami (l. to Sánchez-Vicario); reached first Grand Slam QF at US Open (l. to Maleeva-Fragnière).
1992 - Won first WTA title at Tokyo [Japan Open] (d. Appelmans in final); SF twice at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] (l. to Sabatini) and Osaka (l. to Sukova); QF once; made Top 20 debut on April 13 (rose from No.25 to No.17).
1991 - Runner-up at Los Angeles (l. to Seles in final); made Top 50 debut afterwards on August 12 (rose from No.112 to No.32).
1990 - First full season on tour; QF twice; made Top 100 debut on January 8 (No.119 to No.90).
1989 - Played first five WTA main draws, reaching two QFs and making Grand Slam main draw debuts at Roland Garros (2r), Wimbledon (1r) and US Open (1r); won three singles titles and two doubles titles on ITF Circuit.
1988 - Played first events of career on ITF Circuit in Japan, winning two singles titles and two doubles titles.