Kimiko Date-Krumm - Professional Career

Professional Career

In her debut year 1988, Date played mainly on the ITF Circuit. She started playing at WTA level in 1989. She began 1990 by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open, defeated in straight sets by fourth seed Helena Suková. The following year, she was runner-up of Virginia Slim Of Los Angeles Tournament, defeating Gabriela Sabatini, but losing to Monica Seles in the finals.

In 1992, Date defeated Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the Toray Pan-Pacific Open and reached the semi-finals. That year she also won the Japan Open, reached the semi-finals in the Mizuno World Ladies Open, and the quarter-finals in the Lipton Championship and the Grand Slam, Roland Garros. She also participated in the Barcelona Olympics. She also had her best Grand Slam doubles result, reaching the QF of the Australian Open doubles championships, partnering Australian Michelle Jaggard-Lai.

In 1993, Date again won the Japan Open. She was runner-up in the Asia Women's Open and the Nichiray Ladies Cup. She reached the semi-finals in the Lipton Championships defeating Mary Joe Fernandez. In the US Open, she reached the quarter-finals beating Jana Novotná in the fourth round.

In 1994, Date won her third consecutive Japan Open. She won the gold medal in Hiroshima Asia competition. She reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open (first time from Japan in over two decades beating Conchita Martinez in the quarter final, lost to Steffi Graf) and the Virginia Slims Championships (lost to Sabatini).

In 1995, Date won the Toray PPO, and was runner-up in the Lipton Championships and the Japan Open. In the semifinals of the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Kimiko staged a dramatic comeback against Sabatini after Sabatini took a 6–1, 5–1 lead. Bothered by a sore shoulder, Date defended 3 match points, beating Sabatini 1–6, 7–6(7–2), 7–6(7–4). Date's next opponent in the final was defending champion Graf, whom she had yet to beat in four previous meetings. Graf prevailed 6–1, 6–4, ending Kimiko's remarkable run at the title. She reached the semi-finals in Roland Garros (lost to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario), and the quarter-finals at Wimbledon (lost to Novotná). Date also reached her career high of World Number 4 in 1995.

In 1996, Date reached her 200th win in tournament play. She also won both singles and doubles in the Japan Open. In the Fed Cup, she defeated Graf for the first time in an epic encounter, winning 12–10 in the 3rd set. Date reached the semi-final at Wimbledon after beating Mary Pierce in the quarter-final then battling Graf over two days in the semi-final. Trailing 0–5 in the first set, she stormed back in the second set. Although the chair umpire initially refused to call off the match due to darkness despite Graf's plea, he changed his mind and postponed the final set until the next day. Graf swiftly won that and her seventh title there. Date also won a major tournament in San Diego and reached the quarter-finals in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Her last match was at the 2nd round of 1996 WTA Tour Championships; she lost to Martina Hingis 1–6, 2–6.

Date made a brief comeback on 16 September 2002 when she received a wildcard to play in the doubles event of the Japan Open Tennis Championships held in Tokyo. She paired up with compatriot Miho Saeki and faced Cara Black and Elena Likhovtseva in the first round, but the team was forced to retire after losing the first set 3–6 due to Date suffering a left achilles tendon injury.

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