UCLA at Wimbledon: Day 11
FRIDAY, JULY 9
Former UCLA women's tennis two-time All-American Ena Shibahara was eliminated from the women's doubles draw, completing her time at the All England Club. Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama impressed in their Wimbledon debut as a partnership, reaching the semifinal round.
Shibahara and Aoyama bowed out of the field at the hands of the third-seeded pair of Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei in three sets. Mertens and Hsieh took the opening set by a narrow margin, only to have the fifth-seeded Shibahara and Aoyama answer back emphatically in the second. Mertens and Hsieh ultimately prevailed in the third set, however, taking the match by a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 score. Mertens and Hsieh will meet Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina in Saturday's final.
Shibahara and Aoyama eclipsed their previous career-best Grand Slam showings, set when they reached the quarterfinals at the 2021 Australian Open and the 2020 French Open. The pair, which has collected seventh Women's Tennis Association doubles championships, will represent Japan at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
THURSDAY, JULY 8
Former UCLA men's tennis star Jean-Julien Rojer had his time at the All England Club stopped in the mixed doubles quarterfinal round Thursday, as he and partner Andreja Klepač were felled by Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski on Center Court.
The first set needed a tiebreaker to decide it, with the seventh-seeded Krawczyk and Skupski ultimately prevailing by an 8-6 score. Rojer and Klepač, seeded 14th, secured six of the first seven points before their counterparts answered with the final seven. Krawczyk and Skupski went on to take six of the final seven games in the second frame for a 7-6(6), 6-2 victory and a spot in the semifinal round.
Ena Shibahara, who twice earned All-America acclaim for Stella Sampras Webster's UCLA women's tennis program, will have a chance to gain entry into the women's doubles final round Friday. The fifth-seeded pair of Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama will meet No. 3 seeds Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei at 5 p.m., PT on Court 1.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7
Day 9 at the All England Club saw Jean-Julien Rojer and Ena Shibahara advance in the mixed and women's doubles draws, respectively. Shibahara's berth represents her first in a Grand Slam, while Rojer will try to match his previous best mixed doubles performance at Wimbledon, set in 2013, with a win in his next match. He was part of a pair that won the event's men's title in 2015.
Rojer and partner Andreja Klepač, seeded 14th, completed a round-of-16 match that began Tuesday before being suspended. Pitted against Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza, Rojer and Klepač took the first set, only to have Bopanna and Mirza answer to force the deciding third set. Holds of serve ensued for 19 games until Rojer and Klepač broke through to seal a 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 victory. Rojer and Klepač will next meet Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski Thursday.
The fifth-seeded tandem of Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama continued its impressive Wimbledon debut with a fourth straight-set triumph in as many matches. Wednesday's quarterfinal-round showdown with Marie Bouzková and Lucie Hradecká represented the closest for Shibahara and Aoyama, which took the first three games of the opening set, only to be forced into a tiebreaker. They would prevail there, though. Knotted at five games apiece in the second set, Shibahara and Aoyama earned a break and the chance to win. Twenty points later, Shibahara and Aoyama held off their counterparts to surpass their quarterfinal-round showings at the 2021 Australian Open and the 2020 French Open. Shibahara and Aoyama will next meet Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei for a spot in the final round.
MONDAY, JULY 5
Ena Shibahara, who suited up for the UCLA women's tennis team in 2017 and 2018, equaled her best showing at a Grand Slam tournament with a round-of-16 doubles triumph at the All England Club Monday. Jean-Julien Rojer, who starred for the men's team, meanwhile, was victorious in the mixed doubles second round Saturday.
Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama, seeded fifth, secured the final four games of their first set with No. 11 Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva to get off on the right foot. The second set did not get its first break of serve until its final game, when Shibahara and Aoyama closed out their 7-5 victory. The pair, which has already competed in the Australian Open and French Open quarterfinal rounds, will get a chance to break through Wednesday, when it meets No. 16 seed Marie Bouzková and Lucie Hradecká.
The 14th-seeded Rojer and Andreja Klepač, which earned a first-round bye, prevailed in a first-set tiebreaker with Zvonareva and Gonzalo Escobar after swapping breaks. Rojer and Klepač seized the final four points of the tiebreaker. The second set saw Rojer and Klepač earn a break at 2-1 and that was all they needed en route to a 7-6(5), 6-4 decision. Next up for the tandem is a round-of-16 matchup with Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirz Tuesday.
Shibahara bowed out of the mixed doubles draw with partner Ben McLachlan without playing a match.
SATURDAY, JULY 3
Former UCLA women's tennis standout Ena Shibahara earned the second win of her first-career Wimbledon tournament, teaming with Shuko Aoyama for a straight-set doubles decision against Tereza Martincová and Markéta Vondroušová.
The fifth-seeded Shibahara and Aoyama dropped just three total games, taking the first four of the initial set and never looking back. Martincová and Vondroušová briefly tried to seize momentum following a break of serve at 0-4 in the first set, but Shibahara and Aoyama immediately broke back and went on to take the match by a 6-1, 6-2 score.
Shibahara and Aoyama advance to the round of 16 and a date with 11th-seeded Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva. The pairs will meet Monday at 3 a.m., PT, following the Sunday off day.
THURSDAY, JULY 1
Making her Wimbledon debut, former UCLA women's tennis player Ena Shibahara teamed with Shuko Aoyama for a straight-set doubles win Thursday at the All England Club. Marcos Giron and Jean-Julien Rojer, who were members the UCLA men's tennis program, suffered losses in the singles and doubles draws, respectively.
The fifth-seeded pair of Shibahara and Aoyama dug out of an early hole against Gaby Dabrowski and Caroline Garcia. Dabrowski and Garcia earned an early break of serve for a 2-0 first-set advantage. Shibahara and Aoyama answered by taking each of the next two games and posted the difference-making break at 3-3. The second set was all Shibahara and Aoyama, as they jumped out to a 5-1 advantage and rolled to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
The 10th-seeded tandem of Rojer and Wesley Koolhof had a tougher go of it versus the wild-card combination of Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliövaara. Rojer and Koolhof started strong, taking the final three games to edge their counterparts by a 7-5 score. A break at 3-2 in the second set gave Glasspool and Heliövaara momentum towards a third set, though, and a third set was ultimately forced. Glasspool and Heliövaara grabbed the first break of the closely-contested decider at 4-4 and closed it out for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win.
Giron, who beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland in five sets to reach the singles second round Wednesday, was unable to have the same success across from No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland Thursday. Kurkacz earned early breaks to establish 3-0 and 2-0 leads in the first and second sets, respectively. The third saw Giron hold for 4-5, but Kurkacz went on to seal the 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 decision.
Shibahara and Aoyama will face the winner of Friday's match between Sarah Beth Grey/Emily Webley-Smith and Tereza Martincová/Markéta Vondroušová in the doubles second round.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30
For the first time in his career, former UCLA men's tennis player Marcos Giron earned a second-round berth at Wimbledon. The 2014 NCAA Championships singles titleholder got past Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland in a Wednesday thriller that went the distance. The match was pushed back from Tuesday due to rain at London's All England Club.
Giron earned the match's first break of serve at 3-3 of the initial set and that was all he needed, holding on his serve chances. Ruusuvuori controlled the second, however, taking the final four games. The back-and-forth affair saw Giron answer by taking the last four games of the third set to retake momentum. Ruusuvuori quickly squashed that by running away with the fourth to set up the deciding frame. There, the players stayed on serve until a 16-point ninth game that Giron ultimately seized before closing things out for a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 decision.
Giron will be back in action Thursday, when he meets No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland at a time to be determined.
Thursday also represents the delayed start of doubles play. Former UCLA men's tennis standout Jean-Julien Rojer and Wesley Koolhof, seeded 10th, will take on Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliövaara. On the women's side, the fifth-seeded combination of Bruin Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama meets Gabriela Dabrowski and Caroline Garcia. Start times have not been announced for either contest.
MONDAY, JUNE 28
Mackenzie McDonald, who seized the NCAA singles and doubles championships in 2016 as a member of the UCLA men's tennis team, was narrowly beaten by 25th-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia Monday in first-round singles action at Wimbledon.
Making his first appearance at London's All England Club since 2018, when he advanced to the singles fourth round, McDonald took the first three games of his opening set with Khachanov en route to a 6-3 win. Khachanov went on to earn the second set's first break of serve at 3-2 and used that for a 6-3 response. The third set saw Khachanov take initial four games and five of the first six, only to have McDonald pull to within 4-5. The hole proved too deep, however, and Khachanov closed it out for 6-4. The final set would need a tiebreaker, which Khachanov ultimately captured, along with the overall victory, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3).
McDonald's run to the main draw included a showdown with a fellow Bruin, Maxime Cressy, in the third round of qualifying. Cressy, who took the 2019 NCAA doubles title with Keegan Smith, jumped out to a two-set advantage before McDonald staged a comeback. McDonald would prevail by a 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 score. He previously knocked off Kimmer Coppejans of Germany, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2, and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
McDonald's former teammate, Marcos Giron, will play his singles first-round match Tuesday versus Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland. Giron is coming off a quarterfinal-round trip at the Halle Open in Germany.
Doubles play begins at Wimbledon Wednesday. Jean-Julien Rojer and partner Wesley Koolhof are in the men's draw, while Ena Shibahara will take her best shot at the women's field alongside Shuko Aoyama. Shibahara and Aoyama recently brought home the title at the Eastbourne International tournament in the United Kingdom.