Japan’s 39-year-old unseeded Kimiko Date Krumm was the story of the French Open on Tuesday, shocking the mentally fragile former No. 1 and current No. 9 seed Dinara Safina from a set down 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 at Roland Garros.
Safina led 4-1 in the third, with Date krumm fighting back tears from a right calf injury, but that didn’t stop the Russian from giving up six of the last seven games and the match to the inspired former Top 10er from Japan, who showed heart the Russian could only envy.
“I didn’t want to stop,” Date Krumm said. “My condition was very bad, but she was getting a little nervous, and she started making mistakes. So I tried many things, like drop shots and hitting wider, slower…I tried everything.”
With the win Date Krumm became the oldest ever to beat a Top 10 player on tour, eclipsing the record of Billie Jean King who was 39 years, six months and 29 days at the time.
“I was very, very happy to play on Suzanne Lenglen Court. I have a big memory there,” Date Krumm said. “In 1995, I beat Iva Majoli there, then played on Philippe Chatrier against Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the semifinals. I don’t like red clay so much, but today I beat Safina, so it’s a big, big memory again. Even if I lost, I’d still be very happy to be there — I’d be playing Safina on Suzanne Lenglen.”
Safina was the only Top 10-seeded player in action Tuesday, and the only seed to lose.
Seeded winners were (12) Maria Sharapova, (13) Marion Bartoli, (16) Yanina Wickmayer, (18) Shahar Peer, (21) Vera Zvonareva, (22) Justine Henin, (23) Daniela Hantuchova, (25) Zheng Jie, and (29) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, all in straight sets.
Unseeded highlights Tuesday were…uh, none. American lucky loser Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat countrywoman Vania King, and wildcards Jarmila Groth of Australia and Olivia Sanchez of France advanced, for a stretch.
Highlights of Wednesday play are slim in Paris, including (2) Venus Williams vs. Arantxa Parra Santonja, (5) Elena Dementieva vs. Anabel “Funky Cold” Medina Garrigues, Tathiana Garbin vs. (3) Caroline Wozniacki, Agnes “The Hun” Szavay vs. (19) Nadia Petrova, and an upset special in Aleksandra Wozniak vs. (32) Kateryna Bondarenko.
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