Make me your Homepage
left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Youth trumps experience

Updated: 2014-01-14 07:18
By Reuters in Melbourne ( China Daily)

Youth and potential trumped age and experience at the Australian Open on Monday as 16-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic took down Japan's 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

The 27-year age gap was the largest in a Grand Slam since 47-year-old Martina Navratilova was beaten by 19-year-old Gisela Dulko at Wimbledon in 2004.

"It means a lot to win because I didn't play really at my best, but I was able to fight through," said Bencic, who is coached by Melanie Monitor, the mother of Martina Hingis.

Hingis, who was watching in the stands on a court packed with Japanese fans, looked concerned when Bencic trailed 3-0 and 4-2.

Bencic showed great resolve to recover to take the set. Then, after Date-Krumm got back to even with some typically smart tennis, the teenager regained her composure to clinch victory in her first Grand Slam match.

Date-Krumm reached the semifinals in Melbourne in 1994, three years before Bencic was born, but the Swiss said she tried not to think about the age gap.

Youth trumps experience

"It was special," Bencic said. "I was not thinking about (Date-Krumm's age). I had real trouble to play her because she plays a very different game and hits a very flat ball."

Bencic won the French Open and Wimbledon junior titles last year and is an exciting new prospect, so much so that she has been dubbed 'the new Hingis.'

Date-Krumm said the Swiss has the talent to go far.

"Of course she needs more experience but she has a lot of potential," she said. "If she has more power, if she plays smarter, she's for sure top 20 ... and top 10 may be possible."

Date-Krumm is now likely to fall outside the top 100 but said she would continue to play as long as she enjoys it, though she laughed off suggestions she could make it to 50.

"I will keep fighting, I don't know how long," she said. "Maybe five years more, maybe five months, I don't know.

"Someday it's coming to a finish, but still I have a chance to play more tournaments. Maybe it will be tomorrow, maybe tonight, maybe five years from now."

(China Daily 01/14/2014 page24)