Three Stars: Day 3

Wednesday June 22nd, 2011

Kimiko Date Krumm (above) was beaten Wednesday by Venus Williams but left an indelible impression on the tournament. (Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters)

WIMBLEDON, England — Here’s a look at three players who distinguished themselves on the third day of Wimbledon.

1. Kimiko Date Krumm. In defeat, she didn’t just show the world how well a 40-year-old athlete can compete. She showed the proper way to play Venus Williams. It took every bit of Venus’ resolve to answer Date Krumm’s arsenal of angles, touch and net play. Back in the game after a retirement that spanned 12 years, the diminutive Japanese player had Williams on the run for some two-and-a-half hours, playing throwback tennis in the age of baseline monotony. Venus knows this 6-7 (6), 6-3, 8-6 win was special, because she was offered a more clever, imaginative challenge than she’ll get from the tour’s big belters.

2. Andy Roddick. Darkness threatened to suspend his second-round match against Victor Hanescu, and Roddick wanted no part of a two-day affair. His game looking sharp and polished, he got it done 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 and greeted dusk with a smile. Roddick is now firmly planted on the list of Those Who Didn't Win Wimbledon, along with Ivan Lendl, Ken Rosewall, Patrick Rafter and others; but unlike Lendl, clearly tormented by his dislike for grass, Roddick keeps coming with energy and purpose. He really thinks he can win this thing one day, and it doesn't bother him in the slightest that the headlines are split among Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. It will be fascinating to see him get a shot cracking the Final Four. 3. Misaki Doi. It must be a daunting prospect for the world's No. 133 player, a virtual unknown, to take the court against Bethanie Mattek-Sands' act. Aside from arriving in a ridiculously garish warmup suit crafted by Lady Gaga's designer, Alex Noble, Mattek-Sands fashioned a typically bizarre on-court ensemble: disparate sleeves (one long, one cut off at the shoulder), knee-high socks and some eye-black paint that curled slightly southward at the outer tips. I kept thinking, this is the representation of American women's tennis after the Williams sisters? Worse yet, Mattek-Sands was in a foul mood, spoiling the postmatch handshake by lingering at the service line to complain about the climactic call. Can't say I'm sorry she's gone.

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