Venus Williams through after breathtaking drama

Five-time champion Venus Williams rallied from a set down to beat Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm in a match of breathtaking drama under the roof on Wimbledon's Centre Court.

Date-Krumm took an incredible first set on a tie-break but only after Williams had battled from 5-1 down and saved a total of seven set points.

At times, the tennis was of the highest quality as Date-Krumm attacked Williams' serve and the American scrapped her way back into the set.

Eventually, the 40-year-old Date-Krumm - a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 1996 - clinched the first set in one hour and four minutes but by then Williams had found her rhythm.

The American moved a break up early in the second set to draw level in the match before prevailing in a hard-fought third to clinch a 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 8-6 victory in nearly three hours.

Williams will face either Monica Niculescu or Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the third round.

The roof was closed over Centre Court as the rain fell over the rest of Wimbledon - but Williams and Date-Krumm offered the watching Duchess of Cornwall some high-class entertainment.

Date-Krumm broke in Williams' first three service games as she raced into a 3-0 lead in just nine minutes, and then opened a 5-1 advantage.

Williams' year has been badly disrupted by a hip injury she suffered at the Australian Open and she only returned to action at Eastbourne last week.

Date-Krumm was too hot for Williams to handle in the opening exchanges and she raced into a 3-0 lead in just nine minutes with some pinpoint baseline winners.

Williams secured one break back but immediately lost it again as Date-Krumm added some dream volleying to the winners she had been peppering past the American.

But Williams refused to buckle. Her grunting got louder and she saved three set points to string together five consecutive games to heap the pressure back on Date-Krumm.

Date-Krumm twice failed to serve out the match but she was happy to attack Williams' powerful serve and opened a 6-2 lead in the tie-break to earn four more set points.

Williams hit back again, saving all of them to draw level before Date-Krumm finally edged a set ahead.

It was an impressive show of mental fortitude from Kimiko-Date, who spent 12 years in retirement before returning to the circuit in 2008.

On the way to holding serve in the first game of the second set, Date-Krumm switched her racquet from right hand to left to play a lob after she had been forced out wide.

She is naturally left-handed but learned to play with her right to fit in with Japanese custom.

But Williams levelled with a blistering winner and then sealed the first break of the second set after Date-Krumm, who had volleyed with such dexterity, planted one into the net.

Date-Krumm earned two break back points but Williams' serve had cranked up a gear and she saw them off to wrap up the set before quickly moving a break up in the decider on the back of her powerful forehand.

Williams gifted Date-Krumm a break back with only her second double fault of the match after being deceived by a flick of the net cord earlier in the game.

Date-Krumm had to save three break points to hold in a 10-minute game, one of them on a challenge which showed the ball had just brushed the line.

Each game was fiercely contested but, with Williams' power and some great volleying from Date-Krumm, the set went with serve until it was 7-6.

And it was Date-Krumm who blinked first.

Serving to stay in the match for the third time, she conceded two match points and Williams wrapped up a memorable victory when Date-Krumm's backhand crept wide.

Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor