Sat, Jun 14, 2014 - Page 17 News List

Date-Krumm stops Hantuchova in tracks


Kimiko Date-Krumm serves to Monica Puig at the WTA Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Kimiko Date-Krumm, the 43-year-old Japanese who is the tour’s oldest player, halted Daniela Hantuchova’s title defense on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Aegon Classic, a Wimbledon warmup event.

It was 18 years ago that Date-Krumm reached a Wimbledon semi-final. She proved an enduring grass-court threat by shortening the rallies and making her first serve count.

The most crucial phase of her startling 6-4, 6-0 success was the 10th game, in which Hantuchova made a push to recoup the early loss of a service game.

The seventh-seeded Slovak briefly refound the ground-stroking rhythm which Date-Krumm took away and earned one break-back point for 5-5.

Date-Krumm’s triumph followed a two-hour encounter and a lengthy doubles the previous day, and it was suggested that she must surely feel tired.

“I do, of course,” she said. “When I woke up my back was so tired, but I tried to move and do some stretching. My body is different from when I reached the Wimbledon semi-final, and so is my game — but I enjoy it more.”

She next plays not the second-seeded Samantha Stosur, but her Australian compatriot Casey Dellacqua, whose 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over the former US Open champion was the third in three meetings.

The departure of these seeded stalwarts increased a feeling that Sloane Stephens, the second-youngest player in the top 20, might take a significant step this week.

The 21-year-old Stephens has never reached a WTA Tour final, but her 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-1 win over Alison Riske, a fellow American who has reached two semi-finals here, carried her within two wins of achieving that. The third-seeded Stephens next plays Zhang Shuai of China.

In the quarter-finals of the doubles, Taiwanese sisters Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan were defeated 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 10-0 by third-seeded US duo Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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