Kimiko Date ends her career at th the Japan Open in Tokyo
Japanese 46-year-old Kimiko Date ended her long career with a 6-0 6-0 defeat against Aleksandra Krunic in just 49 minutes at the Japan Open in Tokyo. The Japanese veteran, who won this tournament four times, received an emotional standing ovation from the crowd for almost an hour after the match. She underwent a knee cartilage transplant at the start of the year.
Krunic dropped just six points on serve and saved just one break point to hold all her service games throughout the match. Krunic won 79 percent of her return points and won 51 of her 64 points.
Date reached a career-high ranking of number 4 in November 1995, less than one year before her first retirement. She came back in 2004 and reached world number 46 in 2010.
“It was a big memory for me to be playing in Tokyo. Japanese fans always support me a lot, and of course my friends were here, so it was exciting. Thank you so much to all tennis fans, and of course Japanese fans. Tennis is always a wonderful sport, especially in the women circuit. I have enjoyed the tour so much”, said Date.
Magda Linette edged Risa Ozaki 6-1 7-5 after one hour and 22 minutes. Linette faced just one break point and converted five of her 9 break points.
Linette broke three times in the first, third and seventh games to cruise through to a 6-1 lead. She went up a set and a break at the start of the second set. Ozaki broke straight back in the next game. As Ozaki was serving to stay in the match in the 12th game, she went up 40-15 but was broken after dropping the next four points
Qualifier Miyu Kato beat Nao Hibino 6-3 6-4 in an all-Japanese clash after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Kato fended off six of the seven break points and converted three of the eleven break point chances. Kato saved theree break points in the first game before breaking serve to race out to a 3-0 lead. Hibino broke back in the fifth game but Kato converted her sixth break point in the eighth game to open up a 5-3 lead. She held serve to close out the opening set. She saved two break points in the second game of the second set Kato got a decisive break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and converted her first match point in the 10th game.