BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — 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 quarterfinals of the Aegon Classic, a Wimbledon warmup event.
It was 18 years ago that Date-Krumm reached a Wimbledon semifinal. She proved an enduring grass-court threat by shortening the rallies, making her first serve count, and advancing at unexpected moments.
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 re-found the ground-stroking rhythm which Date-Krumm took away, and earned one break back point for 5-5.
But once that was denied her - Date-Krumm moved sharply forward and put away a smash - Hantuchova's standard fell rather limply. Not even a dispute with the umpire about a line decision got her competitive adrenaline flowing.