Golden oldie Date looks to break China's great wall | sports | Hindustan Times
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Golden oldie Date looks to break China's great wall

sports Updated: Nov 10, 2010 19:11 IST

Life appears to be beginning at 40 for Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm, whose recent purple patch of form has vaulted her into contention at this month's Asian Games.

Date Krumm, who cooks dinner for her racing driver husband before going out to practice, has produced a string of remarkable results this year, many coming after turning 40 in September.

The former world number four beat Maria Sharapova before celebrating her birthday with victory over Daniela Hantuchova to reach the third round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

That run came after she had reached the quarter-finals in Seoul the previous week and Date Krumm joked that she was close to collapsing after beating former number one Sharapova.

"It's a miracle I am able to stand up after these long matches," said the Japanese, who returned to professional tennis in 2008 after 12 years away from the game.

"I'm no spring chicken anymore!"

Date Krumm won the 2009 Korea Open to become the second oldest player in the Open era after Billie Jean King to win a WTA Tour title.

Her form over the past few months makes her a genuine contender at this month's Asian Games with few of her regional rivals able to match her fitness and consistency.

Date Krumm ran Sharapova ragged in a shock 7-5 3-6 6-3 victory in Tokyo, leaving the Russian in awe of her staying power.

"It's incredible," marveled Sharapova. "She has stayed in such great shape and is incredibly fit."

Date Krumm will face China's great wall of gold medal contenders but the Japanese baseliner has proven time and again she is able to defy the odds and is one to watch in Guangzhou.

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