Wimbledon 2013: Age no barrier to round two as 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm beats teenager Carina Witthoeft
Japanese supporters on Court 14 delighted
It would be graceless to call it age versus beauty, but the manner of Kimiko Date-Krumm's remorseless victory by 6-0, 6-2 over German teenager Carina Witthoeft must have cheered 42 year-old club players everywhere.
Those Japanese supporters comprising the vast majority of the crowd on a heaving Court 14 - hardly the ideal venue - were certainly delighted, once they had been told by overworked stewards that health and safety really did not allow them to sit on the steps. Germans were not in evidence and Fraulein Witthoeft must have found it a lonely place, packed crowd or not.
She had walked onto court to silence. Her opponent, 24 years older and ranked No 4 in the world the year she reached a Wimbledon semi-final in 1996, was greeted like the heroine she is in Tokyo, where she lives with her husband, the German racing driver Michael Krumm.
The first set lasted a mere 16 minutes and it was the ninth game before Witthoeft managed to win one. Her only hope was that Date-Krumm might tire later in weather that was mercifully warmer than on Wimbledon's opening day. The German managed to move her around a little more in the second set, breaking back at one stage for 2-4, but was always likely to give up any advantage with an unforced error.
So it was appropriate that Date-Krumm should finish things off with a service game to love, wrapping up the whole match in under three quarters of an hour. After 1996 she retired until 2008 and expected her return to last no more than a year. Now she is still enjoying playing so much that she says "it's difficult thinking about stopping one day".
For Witthoeft, £23,500 as a first-round loser was some consolation. Whether she deserved it was another matter.
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