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Naoko Kijimuta

tennis player

Alias: Naoko Mannami
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Bio She is a retired tennis player and winner of five professional doubles tournaments.
Naoko dropped out of Senshu University in a year and became a professional at the age of 20 in 1992.
She has been a representative of Japan in the Federation Cup.
In the 1990s with her sister Akiko, she ranked among the top tennis players in Japan, alongside such players as Kimiko Date and Naoko Sawamatsu. From 1995 to 1997, she figured in the world top 100 in singles, taking a highest ranking in March 1997 - No. 44 (the season ended 1996 as the world's 50th best player).
She broke through the first round of her first four major tournaments at the 1995 US Open. In this tournament, eight Japanese women's players participated directly in the main singles game, impressing the heyday of the Japanese women's tennis world. She then advanced to the third round at the 1996 US Open, where she lost to Martina Hingis (Switzerland), then 15 years old, 2-6, 2-6. She played in the second round of Wimbledon in 1997 against Barbara Paulus, who was 16th seed and 16th in singles at the time. She upset her victory with a full set of 5-7,6-3,6-3 and she advanced to the third round against Yayuk Basuki (Indonesia). She has been in doubles for the second consecutive year in 1997 and 1998, and she has paired up with Nana Miyagi to advance to the top eight Australian Open women's doubles. In the 1998 Australian Open Women's Doubles, she beat Venus and Serena's Williams sisters in the third round, but in the following quarterfinals, first-seeded Lindsay Davenport (USA) & Natasha Zvereva (Belarus) 1-6, Completely defeated on a 0-6 straight.

Naoko's best results include the singles semifinals of the WTA Tour tournament in Jakarta (defeated by top-seeded Belgian Sabine Appelmans) and (Japan Open) in 1996, quarterfinals in Strasbourg in 1997, third rounds at the 1996 US Open and 1997 Wimbledon.

Greater successes she had in doubles, where she was ranked 18th in October 1997, and won five tournaments including WTA Tour events and another five lower-ranking (ITF Women's Circuit). All titles on the WTA Tour came with Japanese partners - Rika Hiraki, Miho Saeki and mostly with Nana Miyagi. Miyagi won three tournaments and twice was in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open 1997 and 1998).

Kijimuta and Miyagi also appeared in several semifinals and sometimes in the last eight of Grand Slam events (Wimbledon, French Open and US Open in 1997, as well as Wimbledon in 1998 - this time victory over the Williams sisters by default).

Naoko Kijimuta played doubles in the Federation Cup 1997 and 1998, partnering Nana Miyagi and Kyoko Nagatsuka, but lost all three games.

Her tennis career ended in September 1998, at the Toyota Princess Cup tournament in Tokyo, where she passed the qualifying in the singles to be defeated in the first round of the main draw by German Anke Huber in three sets 3-6,6-3,0-6, which was the last match of his career. Also the first round of the tournament in doubles (along with Rika Hiraki) ended in defeat. Naoko Sawamatsu has also retired from active duty at this tournament.
In December of the end of the year, Naoko Kijimuta officially announced her retirement. This year, Mana Endo announced her retirement at the end of August and Kyoko Nagatsuka announced her retirement at the end of August, and players of the same generation as Date disappeared from the tennis court one after another. The boom in Japanese women's tennis, which was stimulated by Date, came to an end in this way. After her retirement, Naoko has been teaching at Mizuno under the title of Advisory Professional Staff.

Her career earnings was almost half a million dollars.
Tournament AO RG W US Win-Loss
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