Sugiyama began 2005 with four consecutive first-round losses. She lost in the first rounds of the first three Grand Slams; only at San Diego did she really do well, making it to the final, which she lost 0–6 3–6 to Mary Pierce, having defeated Daniela Hantuchová, Sesil Karantacheva and Svetlana Kuznetsova en route. Sugiyama also reached the final in doubles with Hantuchová, losing to Virginia Ruano-Pascual and Conchita Martinez. She broke her Grand Slam "curse", reaching the third round before losing to Clijsters, the eventual champion.
That year, Ai had better results in doubles than in singles. Partnering with Elena Dementieva, she reached the finals of her first tournament, Sydney, losing to Bryanne Stewart/Samantha Stosur. They reached the Round of 16 at the Australian Open. She entered a few tournaments with Anastasia Myskina and Elena Likhovtseva, but with poor results. In Berlin, she played again with Daniela Hantuchová, reaching the Semifinal, losing to Black and Huber. At the French, they lost to Birnerová and Vanc in the second round. They won their next tournament, in Birmingham over Daniilidou and Russel 6–2 6–3. At Wimbledon, Hantuchová and Sugiyama reached the Quarterfinal, losing to eventual champions Black and Huber. At the Canadian Open in Toronto, they lost the semifinal to eventual champions Grönefeld and Navratilova. At the US Open, they reached the third round, losing to Zi Yan and Zheng Jie. Ai tried three partners in the next tournaments, before returning to Daniela in Zurich, where they reached the finals (beating top seeds Lisa Raymond and Stosur en route), losing a close match to Black and Rennae Stubbs, 6–7(6) 7–6(4) 6–3. They finished the year ranked #5, failing to qualify for the Year-End Championships.
Sugiyama played mixed doubles at two events: the French & the US Open. At Roland Garros, playing with Mirnyi, she lost in the first round. At the US Open, she partnered with Ullyett. The duo reached the quarterfinals, losing to eventual champions Hantuchová and Bhupathi.
Entering the Doha with an 0–5 singles record, she managed to beat wildcard Selima Sfar 6–3 6–3. In the second round, she surprisingly upset (4) Myskina 7–6(2) 6–7(6) 6–4, needing several match points to close the match out. In her quarterfinal match against Julia Schruff, she had a comfortable 6–3 6–2 win. She lost in the semifinal, in an epic match against Nadia Petrova, 6–1 7–6 (2). At 0–4 in the second, she won five consecutive games to 5–4. She won the doubles title with Hantuchová, defeating Yan and Zheng in the semifinal 6–3 3–6 6–3, and Ting Li and Tiantian Sun 6–4 6–4 in the final.
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