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Tennis: Olympics at 50? A 99.9999 percent 'No' says Date-Krumm

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Japan's 'iron lady' Kimiko Date-Krumm won her opening match at the Pan Pacific Open on Monday, then all but ruled out playing in Tokyo at the 2020 Olympics when she will be almost 50.

"Eh? I'll be 50. Fifty!" Date-Krumm told AFP with a broad smile when asked about returning to the same waterside venue to compete at the Tokyo Games.

"I'm not (Martina) Navratilova," added the former world number four, who reached the quarter-finals in Seoul last week.

"You're asking if there's a one percent chance? Well probably it's 99.9999 percent I won't, but I suppose you never say never 100 percent. It's almost impossible, though I'd like to be involved in some capacity and support the next generation of players coming through."

She added: "When I heard about the (Sept. 7) decision to host the Olympics in Tokyo I didn't think about playing myself, but obviously competing in the Olympics in Japan will give the younger players a huge boost and give them extra motivation."

Date-Krumm's 6-2 4-1 victory over qualifier Anastasia Rodionova in the first round of the $2.3 million Pan Pacific Open -- hastened after the Australian stopped with an abdominal strain -- gives the world number 63 a crack at another Aussie in the shape of 12th seed Samantha Stosur.

"I don't think about my age anymore," said Date-Krumm, who turns 43 this week and achieved her career-high ranking back in 1995.

"Stosur is big and powerful. I'm not crazy about that but I'll see what I can get out of my punctured body and see what happens."

Seventh seed Petra Kvitova, surprise Wimbledon champion in 2011, became the first player to reach the third round with a 7-5 6-4 winner over Swiss Belinda Bencic.

"It was my first match after my little break when I went home and so it's always tricky," said the Czech. "I was nervous before the match and I continued feeling that way."

She added: "It wasn't easy to get used to - it was a little windy and we had some rain - but at the end of the match I played a bit better than the beginning so that was a good sign."

Meanwhile, fifth seed Angelique Kerber pulverised Spanish qualifier Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-0 6-1 to book her place in the last 16.

Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, runner-up to Martina Hingis in Tokyo in 2007, flattened Germany's Annika Beck 6-1 6-1 as the Serbian pin-up, who once held the world's top ranking, won her opening match.

Ayumi Morita's 7-6 6-3 upset of Briton Laura Robson and wildcard Misaki Doi's 6-7 6-0 7-5 victory over American Varvara Lepchenko made it a good day for Japan at the 30th edition of the Tokyo tournament.

World number one Serena Williams, who won her 17th grand slam singles title at the U.S. Open earlier this month, was a late pull-out citing fatigue while twice Pan Pacific champion Maria Sharapova withdraw with shoulder pain.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130923/tennis-olympics-at-50-999999-percent-no-says-date-krumm-0