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Early 39th birthday for Seoul champ Date Krumm

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:45

Kimiko Date Krumm became the oldest winner on the WTA Tour since Billie Jean King when she won the Korea Open a day before her 39th birthday.

The Japanese veteran was ranked at world No.4 during her career, but had only returned to court in 2008 after retiring from tennis in 1996.

Despite that, Date Krumm defied her years to beat No.2 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-3 to claim the Korea Open title, her third high-profile scalp of the week.

On her way to the final, she beat top seed Daniela Hantuchova 7-6 4-6 6-4 before coming from behind to oust defending champion Maria Kirilenko 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Date Krumm’s last tournament win came in August 1996 when she beat Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in San Diego. Her Seoul victory is her eighth career title.

Turning 39 on Monday, Date Krumm, became the oldest woman to win a WTA title since Billie Jean King’s 1983 victory in Birmingham at the age of 39 years, seven months and 23 days.

“I’m extremely happy,” Date Krumm said. “I realised one more time after this game that we don’t know about tennis unless we actually play it.

“I am about to turn 39 so there was no big pressure on me at all. I honestly don’t know where I get the energy from at my age.”

“Above all, my husband [Michael Krumm}‘s love was a big help for my win.”

Date Krumm made the Wimbledon semi-finals and the last eight of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 before surprisingly quitting the game for 12 years.

Now back and with a title under her belt, she still believes she has a couple of more years left in her on the Tour.

“I think I won’t have any problem in my physical strength over the next five years,” she said. “But I’m married, have to have kids and have a lot of things to do. I think I can play tennis for the next two years.”

Medina Garrigues said she was satisfied with her performance, and was full of praise for the veteran victor.

“I’m really happy,” said the Spaniard. “Honestly, I arrived here with not a lot of confidence. To be in the final is a very good result. Kimiko plays very, very good.”

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