Photo: Takeo TanumaKimiko Date-Krumm (JPN)
DUBAI, UAE: The ever popular Kimiko Date-Krumm produced a brilliant display of tennis over the course of the week to take the title in Dubai for her third triumph on the ITF Pro Circuit in 2012.
The eighth seeded Date-Krumm, who had 25-years on her unseeded 17-year old final opponent Yulia Putintseva, battled to a 61 36 64 win and a return to the WTA Top 100 at the age of 42.
This tournament, broadcast live on the Dubai Sport channel, reported an increase in spectators on recent years and welcomed former WTA world number ones Jelena Jankovic and Martina Hingis as guests of honour. Hingis was also here as coach to singles runner-up Putintseva.
For Jankovic, attending this tournament brought back memories for this was the scene of her career first singles title triumph back in October 2003 when the then 18-year old won in straight sets.
Date-Krumm’s road to the final was made easier with the opening round loss of the defending champion Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and the second round exits of the first and seventh seeds from her half of the draw.
For Putintseva, her route to the final saw her in fine form as she saw off challenges from the second, sixth and fifth seeds respectively in successive rounds. All three victories were hard fought three setters and in the last two she had to come from behind to earn the win.
Under the guidance of Hingis and playing in her first tournament since her loss in the final in Nantes, France at the start of the month – her first defeat in a singles final having won all her previous six – Putintseva found herself involved in another energy draining three set match against a seed.
Date-Krumm raced through the opening set conceding just one game and it looked as though the previous long matches had taken their toll on the Moscow born teenager now representing Kazakhstan. To her credit though she found some inner strength to hit back and level the final with a 63 second set win.
With the title now to be decided by a third set both players fought hard but in the end with a 64 win it was the Japanese star who triumphed and in doing so condemning her opponent to second final defeat in two tournaments.
This title win for Date-Krumm also ended a run of two successive final defeats, first in the WTA Pune Challenger in India and then last week at the ITF Pro Circuit event in Toyota, Japan.
Date-Krumm’s efforts this week earned the former WTA world number 4 a return to the Top 100 for the first time since August whilst for Putintseva, she saw her ranking climb to a new career high of 106.