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Sibling duo advance in US Open National Playoffs

Ena and Shuhei Shibahara
By McCarton Ackerman
Thursday, August 21, 2014

The quarterfinals of the US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championship took place on Thursday at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., with the brother-sister duo of Ena and Shuhei Shibahara advancing into the final four along with former National Playoffs winner Nicole Melichar and her partner, Patrick Smith.

Ena and Shuhei thrilled the crowd on the Grandstand court by defeating Veronica Corning and Sebastian Quintero, 3-6, 6-2, [10-7]. Ena competes in national junior tournaments across the country, while Shuhei is a rising junior at the University of California – Irvine.

Melichar and Smith overcame a difficult first set to advance past Sydney Rider and Shane Monroe, 7-5, 6-2. Melichar won the US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championship with Brian Battistone in 2012. Smith was a standout player at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and now serves as an assistant coach there.

Texas sectional qualifying champions Malika Rose and Brady Bohrnstedt moved on by defeating Bartosz Jowziak and Katarina Milinkovic, 6-2, 6-4. Rose and Bohrnstedt are former standout players at the University of Oklahoma.

Jacqueline Cako and Joel Kielbowicz encountered few problems in their quarterfinal match and prevailed over Riza Zalameda and Max Schnur, 6-4, 6-2. Both Cako and Kielbowicz competed last week in the singles championships of the US Open National Playoffs.

The first semifinal of the day will feature Rose and Borhnstedt squaring off the Shibahara duo, followed by Cako and Kielbowicz playing aganst Melichar and Smith.

The winner of the US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championship receives a wild card into the US Open mixed doubles draw. The 2014 US Open is Aug. 25-Sept. 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

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