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Wimbledon 2013: at 42, Kimiko Date-Krumm shows a clean pair of heels to become oldest woman to reach the third round

It is not just in her birth certificate that Date-Krumm appears to be a representative of another age. A, wispy, wiry 5ft 4in, she would be able to reach the shoulder of some of her more statuesque opponents these days only with the assistance of a set of step ladders. And she plays as if the last coaching manual she read was published in 1983.

In the era of the baseline grunter and back-of-court thrasher, whose only venture to the net is when spinning the coin at the start of a match, Date-Krumm is an old-fashioned serve and volleyer.


Not that Date-Krumm was blase about it. Afterwards, grinning widely at her success, she spent a good half‑hour signing autographs for dozens of enthusiastic fellow Japanese, who crowded the courtside. As she did so, her achievement was making news back home.

Wimbledon has not enjoyed widespread television coverage in Japan since she retired back in the 90s. Her third‑round game, however, will be broadcast live.


Wimbledon 2013: Age-defying Kimiko Date-Krumm to face Serena Williams

The success of Date-Krumm is one of the most inspiring stories of the tournament. Her 6-4, 7-5 victory on Thursday made her the oldest player ever to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

In the early stages of her match, it looked like her age and the sport might be catching up with Date-Krumm. The Romanian is very much a modern player: swishing ponytail; suntan the colour of a teak coffee table; 100mph-plus serve. At the changeovers, Cadantu had a selection of three drinks of different shades, while Date-Krumm sipped from a bottle of Evian, old school.

Experience, however, had to count for something. Despite making double the number of unforced errors, and hitting half the number of baseline winners, Date-Krumm invariably won the points that really mattered. At 4-4 in the second set she switched her racket from right to left hand – she plays right-handed but is naturally a southpaw – and hit a winning shot down the line. Her net play was instinctive and unerring.

Kimiko Date-Krumm set for Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2013

"Although there might be one close set and she'll give Serena something different to look at, Serena probably won't have any trouble looking at it. But Kimiko will still be able to smile because she's better than so many current players despite being older than many of their mothers."






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