WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND (AP) - 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.
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 and was clocked at 120 mph even in her final service game. Contrast that with Date-Krumm’s serves, mostly about 80 mph. One was 65 mph.
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.”
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.”
He wasn’t the only one toting an umbrella around the grounds Wednesday, when rain prevented any action until after 3 p.m., other than under the retractable roof at the main stadium. After Williams managed to sneak through, fans with Centre Court tickets had a chance to see easy wins for two-time champion Rafael Nadal, then three-time runner-up Andy Roddick.
The top-ranked Nadal beat Ryan Sweeting of the United States 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, compiling 38 winners and only seven unforced errors. In the third round, Nadal will face Gilles Muller of Luxembourg _ the only man other than Roger Federer to beat him at Wimbledon in the past six years. Since losing to Muller in the second round in 2005, Nadal is 28-2 at the All England Club; that includes defeats against Federer in the 2006 and 2007 finals, titles in 2008 and 2010, and missing the 2009 tournament with bad knees.
“Will be a big, big test for me,” Nadal said.View Entire Story
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
News and reviews of notable museums, and exhibits, and art events.
Nobody likes to talk about dying quite as much as life insurance expert Liran Hirshkorn.
The stories of damaged Mac Books that had liquid spilled on them and how they were brought back to life by the Mac Experts at LiquidSpill.com
Viewing and reviewing the Los Angeles experimental and classic punk scene with a nod to Rodney's English Disco
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc