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September 28, 2009

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Date Krumm shines in Seoul

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 in Seoul yesterday.

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 before returning to the sport last year.

Date Krumm, who turns 39 today, became the oldest woman to win a WTA title since Billie Jean King won at Birmingham, England, in 1983 at the age of 39 years, seven months and 23 days.

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

Date Krumm, whose last win came when the Spice Girls topped the charts and Bill Clinton was still US president, 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 one hour, 27 minutes.

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

In Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Shahar Peer of Israel won her second straight WTA Tour title, beating local favorite Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3, 6-4 in the Tashkent Open final yesterday.

It was the fifth career title for second-seeded Peer, who won the Guangzhou Open in China last Sunday.

In Tokyo, former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic's alarming slump was prolonged by Czech Lucie Safarova in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open yesterday.

The Serb's 4-6, 6-7 (1) defeat at the US$2 million event follows her first-round exit from the US Open earlier this month, underlining a mystifying loss of form.

Safarova's win was arguably the highlight of a low-key opening day at the lucrative Pan Pacific Open, featuring nine of the world's top 10 women.

World No. 1 Dinara Safina, last year's Tokyo winner, second seed Venus Williams and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova begin their campaigns today.

Ninth seed Flavia Pennetta was the first of the top 10 players to fall, losing to fellow Italian Roberta Vinci 1-6, 2-6.


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