Venus Williams reacts to a play during her second round match against Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan on Day Three of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 22, 2011 in London, England

*Five-time champion Venus Williams rallied to outlast Japan’s 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-7 (6), 6-3, 8-6 in nearly three hours of tennis Wednesday to advance to the third round at Wimbledon.

With rain delaying play on the other courts at the All England Club, Williams and Date-Krumm played under a rare closed roof on Centre Court.

Decked in a flowyoutfit from her Eleven collection, (commentator Chris Evert called it a “toga”), Williams relied on her big serve at the key moments to overcome a gutsy challenge from the Japanese player, who was the second oldest woman to reach the second round in the Open era after Martina Navratilova.

Williams trailed 5-1 in the first set and saved three set points before holding her own set point at 6-5. Williams saved four more in the tiebreaker before losing the set.

Venus shakes hands with Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan after winning her second round match

After Date-Krumm hit a backhand passing shot wide to lose her serve on match point, the two players received a standing ovation from the 15,000 spectators.

The 23rd-seeded American missed nearly five months this year because of a hip injury, but she returned last week at Eastbourne.