Kimiko Keeps Up, Justine Cruises
Published March 24, 2010 12:00
MIAMI, FL, USA - When she comes out of the gates, she really comes out of the gates. Justine Henin won her opening match at a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event for the 32nd straight time Wednesday, with a 62 62 win over Jill Craybas.
Although Henin trailed 2-1 early in each set the match was largely a mismatch, the aggressive Belgian taking every opportunity to push the American all over the court, winning the last five games of each set and completing the win over the 35-year-old - the second oldest woman in the draw - in 70 minutes.
"I've worked pretty hard since Indian Wells," said Henin, who lost second round at Indian Wells two weeks ago. "I'm getting back into my rhythm. It was almost two years I wasn't living this life, so it will take a little time."
Henin's last opening round loss at a Tour event came right here in 2006, falling to Meghann Shaughnessy in the second round after a first round bye.
Next up for Henin will be an Aussie Open repeat - Elena Dementieva.
"I don't feel lucky or unlucky. It doesn't mean anything to me. In Australia it was a tough draw and I made it through to the final," Henin added. "I'll have to take my chances. It was a great match in Australia, the best we've played against each other, probably. I hope it will be another good one."
Date Krumm has been to the final here - though that was 15 years ago.
"Of course I remember. I have big memories of here," she said. "I saved three match points against Sabatini and won, then played Steffi in the final."
She lost that match and would spend 1996 until 2008 in retirement. Now almost 40 - she hits the big 4-0 later this year - Date Krumm is on a mission.
"What I'm doing, I don't want it to be important just for tennis players, but for normal people also. When people get older, they're giving up things. I'm almost 40 and I want to be an example that impossible is nothing. It's important to challenge yourself. And even if you can't get the results, it's important to try."
"She enjoys being out there and it's good to see her playing at this level. It's great to see she has the motivation to work hard," Henin said of Date Krumm. "It's not easy and she has been doing it for a long time. So... a lot of respect."