Krum Becomes Oldest WTA Champion Since 1983

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm became the oldest player to win a WTA tournament since Billie Jean King when she capped a remarkable comeback by beating second-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3, 6-3 to claim the Korea Open title Sunday.

The title was Date Krumm's first in 13 years and eighth of her career. Formerly ranked No. 4 in the world, she quit tennis in 1996 at age 26 before returning to the sport last year.

Date Krumm, who turns 39 on Monday, became the oldest woman to win a WTA title since King won at Birmingham, England, in 1983 at the age of 39 years, 7 months, 23 days.

"Yeah, of course, very happy," Date Krumm said of her win. "I realized one more time after this game that we don't know about tennis unless we actually play it."

Date Krumm beat top-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and advanced to the final after rallying to beat defending champion Maria Kirilenko of Russia 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

She made short work of Medina Garrigues in the final, winning in 1 hour, 27 minutes.

After winning the final match, Date Krumm ran to the stands to embrace her German race driver husband Michael Krumm.

"Above all, my husband's love was a big help for my win," she said.

Medina Garrigues said she was satisfied with her week and praised the Japanese player.

"I'm really happy. Honestly, I arrived here with not a lot of confidence. To be in the final is a very good result," she said. "Kimiko plays very, very good."

The Korea Open was Date Krumm's first WTA title since beating Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at San Diego in August 1996.

She said she is confidant she can play professional tennis for at least a couple of more years.

"I think I won't have any problem in my physical strength over the next five years. But I'm married ... have to have kids and have a lot of things to do," she said. "I think I can play tennis for the next two years."


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