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Kimiko Date Krumm Stuns Maria Sharapova in Tokyo

Sep 27, 2010 – 11:38 AM
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Hal Spivack

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Maria Sharapova congratulates Kimiko Date Krumm

Wild-card entrant and local favorite Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan shocked defending champion Maria Sharapova, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Monday. The 67th-ranked Date Krumm, who turns 40 years old on Tuesday, stunned the 12th-seeded Russian who is coming off a successful hard-court season.

Date Krumm rallied back on Monday to defeat Sharapova in three sets.

"To play against a former World No. 1 and defending champion, I knew I had to play to the best of my ability," Date Krumm said after the match.

Sharapova was once again plagued by double faults and poor serving. She generated 11 double faults and only had a winning first-serve percentage of 66, while her second-serve winning percentage was paltry at 46.

Sharapova played well during the hard-court season, serving better and seemingly recovered from shoulder injuries that plagued her during recent years. But against Date Krumm, her service game failed yet again -- like it did so many times in big matches this season.

Date Krumm broke Sharapova for the fifth time in the match to go up 5-3 in the third set before holding serve and claiming victory in the contest that took a little over two hours.

"Momentum is so big in tennis," Sharapova said. "If you give your opponent a chance they can get confident and take the momentum away."

Date Krumm made headlines in May when she became the second-oldest woman to win a main draw singles match at the French Open.

Date Krumm, who took 12 years off before returning to the WTA tour in 2008, was playing in her first tournament at Roland Garros since 1996. The 39-year-old knocked off Dinara Safina, a former No. 1 and former back-to-back runner-up at Roland Garros.

"It's incredible," Sharapova said of Date Krumm. "It just shows you how she has stayed in such great shape while away from the game. She is incredibly fit."

Date Krumm has played in selective tournaments since returning in 2008. Monday was the first career matchup between Date Krumm and Sharapova.
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