Venus Williams, 31, defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm, 40, today, 6-7(6), 6-3, 8-6, but it was nowhere near an easy feat. Combined, the ladies played one of the oldest Grand Slam matches in recent WTA history, but they delivered a spry Wimbledon thriller that was clear indication that both desperately wanted to proceed to the third round of the tournament. five-time winner, Venus will advance.
After a shaky start where Venus was out of sorts with Date-Krumm’s unorthodox play and down 5-1, she staged a late first set rally to level the match, forcing a tie breaker. Date-Krumm initially ran away with the tie breaker, 2-5, but Venus again leveled the game at 5-5. Venus’ efforts to fight back and level it from 1-5 down in the set and 2-5 down in the tie-break, however, went unrewarded when a lucky down-the-line shot from Date-Krumm caught the outside of the line, giving her a 5-6 lead. She quickly capitalized and served out the set.
Venus got over the disappointment of the unlucky first set loss and managed to control the second. After many tantalizing exchanges, she largely dominated, taking the second set 6-3. But the third was back to “tit for tat.”
Venus’s big serving in the third bailed her out on numerous occasions – not shaken by Krumm’s aggressive returns – as her elder opponent hung in there with the “anything you can do, I can do, too” approach and masterful net play. Williams had to overcome the Japanese woman’s sneaky volleys and deceptive drop shots, which kept her guessing.
Venus’ Wimbledon experience prevailed, though, when a window opened in the 13th game of the set (no tie breaks in final set at Wimbledon) giving her the break points she needed to serve for the match. She closed it out, having been on Center Court for almost 3 hours. Spectators gave standing ovations to both players for a high level match that was well worth the money.
“I’m just glad to make it through,” she said. ” I was disappointed in the loss of the first set, but she’s a great player and she hit great shots and was just attacking everything.”
Venus will next face lefty, María José Martínez Sánchez, of Spain.