Under Wimbledon's roof, Venus overpowers Date-Krumm

Updated: 2011-06-23 09:44


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Under Wimbledon's roof, Venus overpowers Date-Krumm

Venus Williams of the US reacts during her match against Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 22, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

WIMBLEDON, England - Time and again after losing a point, Venus Williams rolled her eyes, slumped her shoulders and let out a shriek of dismay that echoed through Centre Court, reverberating off its roof.

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Facing the most, uh, experienced woman in the Wimbledon field - 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan - Williams was mired in a three-set struggle that lasted nearly three hours Wednesday, a tight, high-quality contest brimming with the sort of at-the-net, classic grass-court play seen so rarely nowadays.

"She doesn't play anywhere near her age," Williams said.

In the end, Williams, a five-time champion at the All England Club, mustered every bit of her competitive drive and considerable talent to pull out a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 8-6 comeback victory over Date-Krumm and reach the third round.

"She played unbelievable today. I thought she had some luck on her side, too, with net cords, balls hitting lines. I just thought today was a perfect storm for her to try to get a win," said Williams, who again wore her decidedly original lace romper, featuring draped sleeves, deep "V" neckline, gold belt and gold zipper.

"Thankfully," Williams added, "I had some answers."

None more effective than her serve, in the late-going, anyway. That stroke delivered 12 aces, helped Williams escape several jams.

Date-Krumm, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1996, quit tennis later that year, then came out of retirement in 2008, marveled at Williams' serve afterward, saying: "Not only speed - it's on the corner. So it was very, very difficult to break her."

Under Wimbledon's roof, Venus overpowers Date-Krumm

Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan reacts during her match against Venus Williams of the US at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 22, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

Not at the outset, actually. Date-Krumm won 13 of the first 16 points Williams served, breaking three times en route to a 5-1 lead. The 23rd-seeded Williams turned things around, taking five consecutive games to go ahead 6-5. Williams then wasted a set point, and Date-Krumm eventually won the tiebreaker. In the second and third sets, though, Williams played much more cleanly, and she wound up winning by breaking in the final game.

It was hardly easy.

"Venus came out slow, and that girl took off like a brand new motor," said Williams' father and coach, Richard. His daughter missed time with a bum hip and is playing only her fourth tournament since Wimbledon in 2010.

On Tuesday, his other daughter, Serena, needed three sets to win, too. After ambling out of Centre Court this time, Dad tapped his umbrella's wooden handle on his chest and said, referring to those matches: "They're tough on the heart. The heart's not as young as it once was."

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