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By Chris Oddo

(September 25, 2012) -- Kimiko Date-Krumm didn't win her first round match at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Monday, but during the process of her 6-1, 6-4 loss to Marion Bartoli, the WTA Tour's Wonder Woman, just three days shy of her 42nd birthday, showed fans why she is just plain awesome.

Check out this running crosscourt winner and put your hands together for the tour's oldest player, the tried-and-true battler.



It's been a difficult season for the former World No. 4. Wins have been hard to come by. She didn't advance to the second round of a Grand Slam, and she had to drop down to the Challenger circuit for several events (she won a $50k title in Japan this spring). 

All the while, anybody who has gotten a chance to see her play, or taken the time to contemplate what is driving the 41-year-old to compete at this level, has been blown away by what she represents. She is the heart and soul of the tour. The gritty, determined veteran who doesn't know the meaning of the word quit. 

How long will Date-Krumm's second career continue, and how much does she have left to give the sport? It's a question we all ponder each time she's knocked out of a draw earlier than we'd hoped. But each week, there she is again, standing toe-to-toe with the best players in the game, many of whom are more than half her age, and hitting remarkable shots like this one. 

(Video via the WTA)

 

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