/ Tennis

Venus digs deep to overcome veteran

Updated: Thursday, 23 Jun 2011 18:05

Venus Williams - Had to work hard to overcome Kimiko Date-Krumm
Venus Williams - Had to work hard to overcome Kimiko Date-Krumm

Five-time champion Venus Williams drew on her competitive instincts as she hit back from a set down to beat veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm in a pulsating second-round Wimbledon clash.

While rain fell outside, Williams and Date-Krumm entertained the Centre Court crowd under the closed roof with some breathtaking tennis.

Date-Krumm took the first set on a tie-break but only after Williams had battled from 5-1 down and saved a total of seven set points.

Williams moved a break up early in the second set to draw level in the match before prevailing in a hard-fought third to clinch a 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 8-6 victory in nearly three hours.

The American had only played four matches since January after suffering a hip injury at the Australian Open and was relieved to find a way past the 40-year-old from Japan.

'It was a perfect storm for her to try to get a win. Thankfully I had some answers,' said Williams.

'More than anything I've learned (since returning to action at Eastbourne) that I'm very competitive.

'When you play an opponent like that you just have to get into that competitive mode and compete, no matter what happens.'

Date-Krumm was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 1996 and wishes she had been able to play that match, against Steffi Graf, under a roof.

'In 1996 I played Steffi Graf in two days because of the darkness,' said Date-Krumm.

'I like indoor courts. If we had a roof in the 1990s I would not have had to play Steffi over two days and I'd have had more chance.'

Williams will face Spain's Maria Jose Sanchez Martinez next after the world number 76 beat Monica Niculescu 6-3 6-0.

Vera Zvonareva, last year's beaten finalist, overcame Russian compatriot Elena Vesnina 6-1 7-6 (7/5) and she will face Tsvetana Pironkova, who beat Petra Martic 6-1 6-4.

The fourth seed Victoria Azarenka cruised into the third round with a 6-0 6-3 victory over Iveta Benesova and will face either Daniela Hantuchova or New Zealand's Marina Erakovic.

The rain over Wimbledon had caused havoc with the schedules and while some players reached the third round, other were still in first-round action.

Seeds Agnieszka Radwanska, Julia Goerges, Flavia Pennetta, Dominika Cibulkova and Jarmila Gajdosova all progressed but there was one notable casualty.

The eccentric American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, seeded 30, failed to produce a performance to match her eye-catching outfit and she fell to Japan's Misaki Doi 6-4 5-7 7-5.