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Shibahara Earns First-Career Grand Slam Title in Paris

Jun 2, 2022
Wesley Koolhof (left) and Ena Shibahara (Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

PARIS -- Former UCLA standout Ena Shibahara picked up the first Grand Slam title of her professional career Thursday, teaming with Wesley Koolhof to earn the mixed doubles top prize at Roland-Garros.

Shibahara represents the first Bruin to win a Grand Slam championship since Abigail Spears in 2017. Spears earned the mixed doubles crown alongside Juan Sebastian Cabal at that year's Australian Open.

The duo of Shibahara and Koolhof, the tournament's No. 2 seed, built a 5-2 advantage in its first set on Court Philippe Chatrier, only to have Ulrikke Eikerei and Joran Vliegen counter and force a tiebreaker. There, Shibahara and Koolhof overcame a 2-5 deficit, taking the final five points. Momentum squarely on their side, Shibahara and Koolhof earned second-set breaks at 1-1 and 3-1, never looking back en route to the 7-6(5), 6-2 decision.

Shibahara, who starred for UCLA in 2017 and 2018 under head coach Stella Sampras Webster, was a two-time All-American for her singles prowess. Shibahara went 67-17 on the singles courts during her two seasons. She was 53-10 in doubles play.

A Bruin could walk away from Paris with a second championship, as Jean-Julien Rojer is set to try for his third men's doubles title in a Grand Slam setting. The combination of Rojer and Marcelo Arevalo, seeded 12th, edged out No. 16 Rohan Bopanna/Matwe Middelkoop in comeback fashion Thursday. A first-to-10 tiebreaker was needed in the third set and Rojer and Arevalo narrowly prevailed for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8) result. They take on Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek at 6 a.m. PT Saturday on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The French Open main draws featured six Bruins when play commenced. In addition to Rojer (men's doubles, mixed doubles) and Shibahara (women's doubles, mixed doubles), Maxime Cressy (men's singles, men's doubles), Marcos Giron (men's singles, men's doubles), Catherine Harrison (women's doubles), Mackenzie McDonald (men's singles, men's doubles) have all been in action.

For more on UCLA at the 2022 French Open, CLICK HERE.