• Kyodo

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Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato were knocked out of the women’s doubles in the semifinals at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Hozumi and Kato were aiming to become the first Japanese pair ever to reach the final of a Grand Slam event, but their surprise run came to an end when they were beaten 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 by second-seeded pair Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States and Czech Lucie Safarova.

“It’s very frustrating. We really wanted to win,” Kato said after playing the second-seeded duo that includes world No. 1 female doubles player Mattek-Sands.

“Part of me is happy that we took the second set in good form and fought a close game against the top player. We will work hard so that we can play even better against the two next time,” she added.

Her partner Hozumi also expressed disappointment with the loss.

“I now know that we are able to put up a good fight against the world’s top-class players . . . but there are many aspects where I am still lacking.”

Hozumi and Kato had become the first Japanese pair to reach Australian Open semis and first to make the last four of a Grand Slam event since Ai Sugiyama and Rika Fujiwara made the semis of the 2002 French Open.

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