Maria Sharapova crashed out of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo at the hands of Kimiko Date-Krumm.
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On the eve of her 40th birthday, the extraordinary Kimiko Date-Krumm proved she can still compete with the very best of the women's game. The Japanese player was a star back in the mid 90s, reaching a high of four in the world and semi-finals at three of the grand slams. She decided to return to the tour two years ago and has since reached the top 50.
No one expected her to compete with defending champion Sharapova but Date-Krumm proved too solid for the erratic Russian, reeling off the last four games for a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win.
Full credit to Sharapova afterwards who admitted she struggled to get to grips with her unorthodox opponent.
"Kimiko was a new opponent for me, so I had to try and figure her out. She stays low and likes the ball hit hard at her, and then she steps in and changes direction. She did that really well,” Sharapova said. “I had my ups and downs but couldn't take control when I was up.”
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