Thailand's Tamarine spoils Date's tennis comeback

May 5, 2008 - 0:0

TOKYO (AFP) -- Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn played spoiler on the return of Japanese former number one Kimiko Date to professional tennis on Sunday, coming from behind to win the Kangaroo Cup International Ladies Open.

In Date's attempt to win her first tournament since coming back after a 12-year break, she took the first set 6-4.
But Tamarine, 30, took the next two sets 7-5, 6-2, claiming victory at the match played in Japan's central Gifu.
The Japanese veteran finished the tournament with a victory in the doubles final, teaming up with high school player Kurumi Nara to beat Britain's Melanie South and Dutchwoman Nicole Thyssen 6-1, 6-7, 10-7.
“I felt I was regaining the feeling of playing tennis every day,” Date, 37, said after the International Tennis Federation event. “I enjoyed the sport with other players.”
Date retired in 1996 after reaching a career-high world ranking of number four the year before. She last month announced her return to professional tennis, saying she has rediscovered her love of the game.
“I want to keep showing people how fun Japan's tennis is,” she said Sunday.
But Date, who won seven WTA titles during her career and reached three Grand Slam semi-finals, said she would not tempt her fate on the WTA circuit for the time being, limiting her comeback to national tournaments.
Date taught tennis clinics for children since retiring, but now she is aiming for the national championships in November.