TOKYO, Japan - Kimiko Date bade farewell to tennis following her 6-0, 6-0 first-round defeat to Aleksandra Krunic at the Japan Women's Open.
The 46-year-old had announced previously that this would be her final tournament, explaining in a blog post last month that following a knee cartilage transplant at the start of the year, she was unable to move as freely as she would wish.
"It was a big memory for me to be playing in Tokyo," she said after the match. "Always Tokyo tennis fans support me a lot, and of course my friends were here and my sponsor was here, so it was exciting."
Date reached a career-high ranking of No.4 in November 1995, less than a year before her first retirement. She returned to the Tour 12 years later, reaching No.46 in November 2010.
She assured fans that she would not be coming back from retirement this time, though, adding: "Thank you so much to all tennis fans, and of course Japanese fans...tennis is always a wonderful sport, especially in the women. I have so much enjoyed the tour."
Elsewhere, on a rain-affected day, qualifier Miyu Kato beat Nao Hibino 6-3, 6-4, while Poland's Magda Linette defeated Risa Ozaki 6-1, 7-5.