TOKYO » Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm rallied to beat defending champion Maria Sharapova 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 yesterday in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open.
Date Krumm, who turns 40 today, broke the 23-year-old Russian to go up 5-3 in the third set and won the final game when Sharapova’s backhand went wide.
"To play against a former world No. 1 and defending champion, I knew I had to play to the best of my ability," said Date Krumm, who returned to competitive tennis in 2008 after a 12-year layoff.
In second-round matches, third-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia defeated Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-1 and sixth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland coasted to a 6-2, 6-3 win over Olga Govortsova of Belarus.