Tennis: Ageless Kimiko turns back time at Wimbledon

LONDON (AFP) - Kimiko Date-Krumm set up a potential Wimbledon showdown with defending champion Serena Williams, as the Japanese veteran defeated Romania's Alexandra Cadantu 6-4, 7-5 in the second round on Thursday.

At 42, Date-Krumm is the oldest player competing in the main draw at the All England Club, but age has not eroded her talent as she enjoyed her second consecutive straight-set win.

She is back in the last 32 at Wimbledon for the first time since her run to the semi-finals 17 years ago.

And the reward for Date-Krumm, who also reached the third round at the Australian Open in January, is a likely clash with world No.1 Serena.

Barring a major upset, Williams should brush aside French qualifier Caroline Garcia and give Date-Krumm a first career meeting with the five-time Wimbledon champion.

Cadantu is ranked just three places below world No.84 Date-Krumm and had shocked Austrian 28th seed Tamira Paszek in the first round.

But the 23-year-old was appearing in the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

In contrast, Date-Krumm was playing in her 104th Grand Slam match and competing at Wimbledon for the 12th time.

She enjoyed a fairy-tale run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1996 before suddenly announcing her retirement.

She returned to the tour 12 years later and enjoyed two notable landmarks, becoming the oldest player to beat a top-10 opponent and the second oldest to win a WTA Tour title when she triumphed in Seoul aged 38.

Date-Krumm took just 44 minutes to rout German teenager Carina Witthoeft in the first round and made the perfect start with a break in the opening game against Cadantu.

The Romanian looked to have control of the set when she broke twice for a 4-2 lead.

But the Japanese veteran's wealth of experience paid off as she clawed her way back into the match with a pair of quick-fire breaks, clinching the first set by winning four successive games.

Date-Krumm was broken at 5-4 when she served for the second set, but she recovered to take the next two games and seal the win.