Dubai: Japan’s ageing star Kimiko Date-Krumm overcame a string of uncertainties to deliver some vintage tennis and secure a 6-2, 6-3 win over China’s Yi-Miao Zhou as she advanced to her third final in as many weeks on the ITF Circuit at the 15th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge here on Friday.
Faced with the uncertainty of rain disruptions and constant warming up sessions, the 42-year-old Date-Krumm showed no signs of stress as she eased her way in straight sets and set up a final appearance in her debut entry at this annual $75,000 (Dh275,000) ITF Women’s Circuit tournament.
Date-Krumm will now take on the winner of the second semi-final between fifth seed Kristyna Pliskova from the Czech Republic and 17-year-old Kazakh girl Yulia Putintseva that had to be stopped with Pliskova leading 6-2, 3-3 and the rains showing no signs of abating.
Play will now resume at 10.30am on Saturday, with the doubles to take place at noon and the singles final at 2pm.
Date-Krumm has had a fine run at the end of this season, making her third singles finals in as many weeks this month. After losing 2-6, 3-6 to Elina Svitolina in the Pune Challenger, the Japanese lady ended on the losing side 6-7 (3), 4-6 against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele at the $75,000 Toyota tournament in Tokyo last week.
“One more match to go and then I can sign off on a winning note for this season,” Date-Krumm said after her win — her second triumph against the Chinese player this month. The two had met in the second round of the Pune Challenge in the first half of November and that had resulted in a hard-fought 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win for the Japanese.
“She [Yi] has improved a lot, but I was ready for her physically and mentally. It was a very difficult situation to be in. I woke up feeling sore and then there was the rain. After some time I warmed up, only to be told that play was shifted by an hour. I just put away all negative thoughts and focused on the match,” Date-Krumm related.
Earlier, the start of play was delayed due to intermittent light showers. ITF supervisor Hani Al Khafief initially said the first singles semi-finals would start at 1pm, but after a continuous drizzle the players were called back on court at 2.30pm.
The doubles final between Vera Dushevina and Maria-Elena Camerin and Eva Hrdinova and Karolina Pliskova started off on Court No 3 but was interrupted by rain that started off as a drizzle at first at around 4.15pm and continued for some time.
(Singles semi-finals) Kimiko Date-Krumm bt Yi-Miao Zhou 6-2, 6-3; Kristyna Pliskova vs Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 3-3 (rain stopped play).