PARIS – Forty-one-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm’s hopes of becoming the oldest ever player to win at the French Open in the professional era were crushed with a first-round defeat to Italian 14th-seed Francesca Schiavone on Tuesday.
Schiavone, the 2010 champion at Roland Garros and runnerup to China’s Li Na last year, was never in serious danger against the Japanese former world No. 4, prevailing 6-3, 6-1 in 74 minutes to move into the second round.
Date-Krumm broke Schiavone in the first game of the first set, but allowed her opponent to break straight back. At 4-3 down she squandered two game points in the eighth and the Italian took control from that point.
“I didn’t completely fall apart after losing the eighth game (in the first set), but I couldn’t make any headway,” said Date-Krumm. “I couldn’t put her in a corner and I’m not even half-satisfied with the way I played.”
It was not all bad news for Japan, though, as Ayumi Morita came from behind to win her opening match for the second year in a row, beating 39th-ranked Polona Hercoq of Slovenia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to set up a meeting with second seeded Russian Maria Sharapova in the second round. Sharapova defeated Romanian Alexandra Cadantu 6-0, 6-0.
In the men’s draw, Go Soeda was knocked out in the first round, going down 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov.