Date-Krumm dream run ends in Melbourne
MELBOURNE (AFP) – Kimiko Date-Krumm fell one win short of becoming the oldest player to reach a Grand Slam fourth round Saturday when the age-defying Japanese star suffered a narrow loss at the Australian Open.
Date-Krumm, 42, had already become the oldest third-round contestant in 34 years, but she met her match in Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski who won a tense contest 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) in 1hr 46min. “Yeah, of course it’s very disappointing. But she played so well today. I’ve never seen her play like this,” said Date-Krumm.
“So many times we’ve practised together. Sometimes she makes easy misses. But today her balls were so deep, she could control everything.”
The result, together with Ayumi Morita’s brave defeat at the hands of tournament favourite Serena Williams, leaves China’s Li Na and Japan’s men’s number one, Kei Nishikori, as the last Asian players standing.
Morita earned the distinction of becoming the first player to break Williams at the tournament, and she troubled the 15-time Grand Slam winner as she took a 3-0 lead in the second set.
However Williams, eyeing a calendar-year Grand Slam this year, quickly regained focus and she reeled off the next six games in a row to take it 6-1, 6-3, reaching the fourth round for the loss of just six games.
“I only have positive things to say (about Morita),” Williams said. “I thought she played really well. She played at a level higher than I expected so it took me off guard. She was just consistent, really consistent.”
On Sunday, Nishikori will take on fourth seed David Ferrer as he bids to repeat last year’s quarter-final appearance, the best ever Grand Slam run by a Japanese man.