LONDON - Veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm’s memorable run at Wimbledon came to a shuddering halt on Saturday after the 42-year-old was blasted out of the third round by defending champion Serena Williams.
Williams, bidding for a 17th Grand Slam and sixth Wimbledon crown, needed just over an hour to win 6-2, 6-0 against Date-Krumm, the oldest woman singles player to reach the third round at Wimbledon since the start of the Open era in 1968.
The result extends Williams’ career-best winning streak to 34 matches and sets up a last-16 meeting with 23rd seed Sabine Lisicki.
It also compounded a miserable day for Japanese tennis after Kei Nishikori’s bid to reach the last 16 for the first time ended with 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-4 to Italy’s Andreas Seppi.
Williams broke Date-Krumm in the fourth and sixth games on the way to opening a 5-1 lead. The American failed to serve it out at the first attempt but immediately broke Date-Krumm for a third time to clinch the opening set before powering through the second set for a comfortable win.
Williams paid tribute to the evergreen Date-Krumm and said, “I never thought I would play into my thirties, which is why I have so much respect for Kimiko. She is so fit and so good.”
“I feel better physically now than I have in a long time. I try to play better with each match, so going into the second week there are a lot of things I would like to improve.”
Date-Krumm praised Serena as “very special,” while explaining that a healthy diet has kept her playing at the top level at the age of 42.
“I have a special body compared to other 42-year-olds, have had no injuries, no surgery, everything is fine. And of course I eat healthy food,” she said.