Pune: Fifth seed Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan overcame a challenging opponent and an injury scare to beat Yi-Miao Zhou of China 6-4 4-6 6-2 and reach the quarterfinals of the USD 125,000 Sanjay Kakade Group Royal Indian Open WTA Challenger tournament on Thursday.
The 42-year-old Date-Krumm wasn't at her best throughout the two hour and 12 minute encounter, but showed enough guile and intelligence to pull through and set up a last eight clash against compatriot and second seed Misaki Doi.
Date-Krumm, the second oldest player to win a WTA Tour event in the Open era, kept her approach simple and created eight breakpoint chances, winning two of them to claim the first set.
But with her first serve percentage dropping in the second set, it became difficult for the veteran to maintain her supremacy over an opponent who is much younger and have more powerful ground strokes.
The two players traded breaks five times in the second set with Date-Krumm always playing catch up after the initial exchanges.
It looked like Date-Krumm would crumble under Zhou's onslaught when she dropped her serve in the second game and then called a trainer on court to attend to an injury to her left leg.
It can never be clear whether it was a tactical move by the Japanese as she looked as sharp as ever on the court and changed the complexion of the match by immediately breaking back Zhou and then running away with the final set thanks to her impeccable cross court forehands.
However, between breaks she was seen clutching her hamstring and it would be interesting to see how well Date-Krumm recovers to take on the second seed.
In the day's other matches, Doi hammered Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand 6-0 6-1, while top seed Nina Bratchikova of Russia thrashed Olga Savchuk of Ukraine 6-1 6-1 to book her last eight berth.
Results (second round):
Singles: 2-Misaki Doi (CHN) bt Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) 6-0 6-1; 1-Nina Bratchikova (RUS) bt Olga Savchuk (UKR) 6-1 6-1; 5-Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) bt Yi-Miao Zhou (CHN) 6-4 4-6 6-2.
Doubles: 2-Nina Bratchikova (RUS)/Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO) bt Olga Savchuk/Elina Svitolina (UKR) 7-5, 6-2.