• Kyodo

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Shinobu Asagoe defeated Italian Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-2 in the women’s singles at the Wimbledon championships on Friday, advancing to the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Asagoe, who will meet fifth-seeded Lindsay Davenport of the United States in the next round, and Ai Sugiyama, who beat Nathalie Dechy 6-4, 6-4, became the first Japanese pair since 1996 to book places in the last 16 of the women’s singles in any of the majors.

In 1996, Kimiko Date was a semifinalist and Sugiyama, who next faces her Belgian doubles partner Kim Clijsters, played in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

“My opponent’s hits were sharp and I thought it would be tough to try and match her, but I was feeling good and my body moved naturally,” said Asagoe, who made just five unforced errors to Schiavone’s 33 and approached the net aggressively at the All England Club.

“I was able to go all-out. Since I’m doing so well, I hope to carry on the rhythm and win another one,” she said of her matchup against the 1999 champion.

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