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Tanasugarn proves that age is not a limiting factor

Tamarine Tanasugarn at qualifying
by Dan Imhoff at Qualifying
Tuesday 18 June 2013

Tamarine Tanasugarn proves that age is no barrier to performance with a solid win at Roehampton. Tanasugarn's opening-round opponent in qualifying had not picked up a racket when the Thai veteran was making her tour debut in Pattaya City 20 years ago. She was not even born.

The age gap mattered little at Roehampton on Tuesday as the player on tour with the most grasscourt match wins to her name dealt a lesson to Serbian Jovana Jaksic, with a 7-6(5), 6-3 result.

"The first match on grass is not easy and I'm happy  I passed my round," the former top-20 player said.

It may be a far cry from reaching a Wimbledon quarter-final back in 2008, but the numbers begin to matter less when you become one of the revered golden oldies on tour. 

Surely, she must be nudging 30.

"(I've played Wimbledon) 30 times? Oh, my age? No I'm 36 this year," she laughed.

"Well actually I'm lucky Kimiko (Date-Krumm), she's still playing so I'm not the top ranked of that (oldest). 
 
American Jill Craybas is also older.

"Yeah so I'm not among the top seeds (by age)."

Racing to a 5-1 lead in the first-set tiebreak, Tanasugarn almost let it slip, with Jaksic levelling at 5-5.

A searching rally ending with a crosscourt forehand winner sealed the opening breaker 7-5 and the scream of joy from Tanasugarn made it clear she wanted the lengthy first set to her name.

"In the first set I was 3-1 up and make a lot of mistakes but I called myself in and tried to hit the ball in play," she said.

"We both have the same game, but she have better serve than me. On the groundstrokes, I had to take the opportunity and be more aggressive with it.

It was a good day for the plus-30s, with a pair of 31-year-olds - France's Virginie Razzano and Greece's Eleni Daniilidou both recovering from a set down to move through.

Razzano, who conquered Serena Williams n the first round of last year's French Open, edged Thai eighth seed Luksika Kumkhum 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, while Daniilidou had a similarly close scoreline, beating Russian Alexandra Panova 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Top seed Paula Ormaechea looked like headinh down the same fateful path as men's top seed Dudi Sela when she dropped the opening set 6-1. But the top-ranked Argentinian regrouped to hold off Thailand's Varatchaya Wongteanchai 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Second seed Galina Voskoboeva, of Kazakhstan, equally struggled in her opening match before finishing strongly against the double-handed-off-both-sides Irena Pavlovic, of France; Voskoboeva pulling through 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-1. 

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