The finalists for the US Open National Playoffs - Mixed Doubles Championship are locked in after two exciting semifinal matches at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
The first team to advance into Saturday's championship match was the sibling duo of Ena and Shuhei Shibahara, who narrowly defeated Oklahoma State alums alums Malika Rose and Brady Bohrnstedt, 6-2, 3-6, [12-10]. Sixteen-year-old Ena is a top junior player who competes in national events across the country, while Shuhei is a rising junior at the University of California - Irvine.
In the second semifinal, Jacqueline Cako and Joel Kielbowicz defeated former National Playoffs champion Nicole Melichar and her partner, Patrick Smith, 5-7, 6-0, [10-8]. Cako was a former college star at Arizona State, while Kielbowicz played on the men's tennis team at UNLV. Both players competed extensively on the USTA Pro Circuit, with Cako reaching a career-high ranking of No. 369 in June 2010 and Kielbowicz reaching a career-high ranking of No. 874 in November 2010.
The championship match pitting Cako and Kielbowicz against the Shibahara siblings will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The winner of the US Open National Playoffs - Mixed Doubles Championship will receive a wild card into the US Open mixed doubles tournament. The US Open is being held Aug. 25 to Sept. 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.