Japan dreams of Russia Fed Cup upset

Moscow, Feb 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Japan is dreaming of upsetting four-time champions Russia in this weekend’s Fed Cup quarter-final here, veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm said Wednesday.

Former World No.4 Date-Krumm, 42, is the oldest woman on the WTA tour and was part of the Japanese team that beat Steffi Graf’s Germany in 1996 to put Japan on the map in world tennis.

“I’ll try my best. Of course it’s Russia, it’s very tough, but we have to dream,” Date-Krumm said.

“In 1996 we beat Germany, when Steffi (Graf) was there, so we will try to do our best.”

Date-Krumm, the World No.77, has a winning 2-0 record against Russia’s highest-ranked player, 13th-ranked Maria Kirilenko.

“Of course, she is a very tough player, we practiced together many times,” she said.

“She played all the time and tried to fight, even when she’s losing, she always keeps fighting. It’s not easy to beat her.”

Despite her advanced age, she said she had no plans to quit tennis.

“Maybe five more years, a few months, I don’t know,” she said. “I like tennis, I like competition, so I’m enjoying it a lot.”

Japan’s highest-ranked player is World No.57 Ayumi Morita, while 84th-ranked Misaki Doi and 153rd-ranked Kurumi Nara are also in the team.

For Russia, Kirilenko is joined by 20th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova, 31st-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and 33rd-ranked Elena Vesnina.

The match will be played Saturday and Sunday at the indoor Olympiisky Sports Complex.

Japan and Russia have never met in Fed Cup competition. The Russians reached the semifinals of last year’s competition before losing at home to Serbia, while Japan was promoted back to the World Group since 2007.

The winner of the tie meets either Serbia or Slovakia in the semifinals in April.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

sr/vt

IANS