Blood, sweat, tears flow at Wimbledon

2011-06-25 15:37

As has become the norm at the traditional Wimbledon Championships being played at the All England Tennis and Racquet Club, this was yet another ­emotion-filled week in women’s tennis.

Defending champion Serena Williams was the first to shed tears of joy after her emotional 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over French foe Aravane Rezai on Tuesday.

This was the 29-year-old ­Williams’ third match in 11 months. Before this match the seventh seed, who boasts four Wimbledon titles, had not hit a tennis ball competitively in almost a year due to a foot injury and a ­life-threatening illness when blood clots were removed from her lungs.

“I usually don’t cry, I don’t ­understand it. It’s been so hard, I never dreamt I’d be here,” she said in a TV interview afterwards.

Then the oldest player at this year’s event Wimbledon, 40-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm, breezed through her first-round match on Monday, beating a player 15 years her junior in straight sets.

The 25-year-old Briton, Katie O’Brien, whom Date-Krumm beat 6-0, 7-5, was only three years old when the Japanese made her Wimbledon debut.

Date-Krumm made her ­Wimbledon debut in 1989 and her best run came in 1996, when she lost in the semifinals to ­Steffi Graf. She then took a ­12-year break from professional tennis before returning in 2008.

She had this to say after the match: “I don’t care about the age, but of course it’s very, very difficult to continue to be in the best condition all the time and then every time after the match it’s difficult to recover my body.”

While she became the second- oldest player to win a singles match at Wimbledon after ­Martina Navratilova, her dream of taking the title came crashing on Wednesday when she lost to ­Venus Williams.

The 23rd seed, who at 31 is nine years younger than Date- Krumm, was made to sweat. But she emerged victorious despite dropping the first set, with the last going to the wire for a 6-7, 6-3, 8-6 score in just under three hours.

Tears flowed once more on Wednesday after one of the youngest competitors, Briton Heather Watson (19), lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to France’s Mathilde Johansson after an elbow injury.

Self-confessed Lady Gaga of tennis Bethanie Mattek-Sands was the first seed to bow out by losing to Japan’s Misaki Doi.

French Open Champion Li Na’s hopes of following her success on clay with a Wimbledon ­title were blown to smithereens when she lost to wildcard Sabine Lisicki.

The first Chinese woman to win a Grand Slam title two weeks ago at Roland Garros announced after the match that she was off on a deserved holiday for a week.

Serena Williams, the last player to win the French and Wimbledon in succession, continued with her impressive comeback, eliminating Romanian teenager Simona Halep.

The defending champion did not take kindly to her match ­being played on Court Two and gave officials a mouthful at a news conference.

“They like to put us on Court 2, me and Venus, for whatever reason. I haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe one day we’ll figure it out,” she said.

Referring to the men at Wimbledon, she added: “They’re never moved across. Actually, Venus and I have won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players. It doesn’t look like they’re going to change.”

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