Kimiko Keeps It Going
Published September 22, 2010 12:00
SEOUL, South Korea - A year ago, Kimiko Date Krumm hit the big time in her comeback, capturing her eighth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title here at the Hansol Korea Open. On Wednesday she kept that momentum going, winning her first round match against fellow Japanese Junri Namigata, 62 75.
Date Krumm, who won this title at age 38 last year, the second-oldest player ever to win a Tour title, started strongly, cruising through the first set and twice going up a break in the second set; Namigata broke back and eventually held for 5-4 but Date Krumm won 12 of the last 15 points to close it out.
"This is a lucky place for me that brought me another title last year, and I have lots of good memories," Date Krumm said. "I felt a lot of pressure coming here as defending champion, so I try to keep thinking I'm just the challenger."
Date Krumm was 38 years, 11 months and 30 days when she won here last year, second only to Billie Jean King, who won Birmingham in 1983 at 39 years, 7 months and 23 days. Date Krumm is now older than that, meaning should she win another title on the Tour, she would break that record.
"I have a lot of tournaments coming up and my goal this season is to stay in the Top 50," said Date Krumm, who has cracked the Top 50 since her comeback, but is just a bit down at No.51 this week. "I already made it to the Top 50, but I want to keep it. I want to be in the Top 50 on the season-ending rankings."
A wave of seeds passed their first tests earlier in the day too, with No.2 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova saving set point in the first set tie-break then easing past Anastasia Rodionova, 76(6) 61; No.3 seed Maria Kirilenko beating Urszula Radwanska handily, 63 61; No.4 seed María José Martínez Sánchez beating qualifier Hsieh Su-Wei, 76(3) 64; and No.6 seed Yaroslava Shvedova edging last year's runner-up Anabel Medina Garrigues, 64 75.