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Kimiko Date-Krumm advances at Australian Open -- at age 42

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Now that she's 42, Kimiko Date-Krumm is older than some of her opponent's parents.

Her memory is starting to get fuzzy, too. She can't remember whom she played when she last won a match at the Australian Open -- but she remembers it was way back in 1996.

Tuesday, the Japanese veteran became the oldest woman to win a singles match at Melbourne Park when she beat No. 12 Nadia Petrova, 6-2, 6-0, in the first round.

After the match, she fielded a variety of questions about her secret to longevity in a sport filled with women half her age.

"Some players' mothers are younger than me," she laughed. "So it's like [they're] my daughter."

Her advice to keeping fit: "I sleep a lot. I eat healthy foods. I drink a lot," she said. Bedtime is usually before 10. "It's a simple life, that's it. Nothing special."

The mind-set that comes with her advanced age has helped her, she said, as did a long period of absence from the sport.

Date-Krumm, who is married to German race car driver Michael Krumm, took a 12-year break from tennis and returned in 2008.

"After I stopped playing tennis in 1996, I never thought I would come back on the tour. But I love sports. I love tennis," said Date-Krumm, who is ranked No. 100 and has won eight tour titles and more than $3 million in prize money during a career in which she was ranked as high as No. 4 in 1995.

Since her comeback, she has failed to advance beyond the second round of a major. But she has amassed a number of "oldest player" records. Among them: At 39, during the 2010 French Open, she became the oldest player to beat a top-10 player. She then beat her own record later that year in Osaka after turning 40.

Martina Navratilova holds the record for the oldest woman to win a major singles match which came at Wimbledon in 2004 when she was 47 years, 8 months.

Date-Krumm made her Grand Slam debut at the French Open in 1989 when Petrova was just 6 years old.

Date-Krumm cruised through her match against the 30-year-old Petrova in 64 minutes. She made 75 percent of her first serves; Petrova stumbled with 38 unforced errors.

"She's a tough cookie," said Petrova, a 2010 quarterfinalist at Melbourne Park. "She played really well today. She didn't give me any room to come back."

Petrova agreed that a vacation from the sport that requires rigorous travel around the world could be a good thing.

"She took a 10-year break," Petrova said, "so you know she might be fresher than most of us in our 30s."

Radwanska gains.Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska beat Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-3, 6-3, and No. 5 Angelique Kerber topped Lucie Hradecka, 6-3, 6-1, today to reach the third round.

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