Tag Archives: laura robson

Robson proves she can advance to Wimbledon quarters

Laura Robson  Carine06 flickr

Laura Robson must quickly recover from her scrappy victory over Marina Erakovic and prepare for a gruelling fourth-round encounter with Kaia Kanepi this Monday, a match that will define her success at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

The British number one came through Saturday’s clash 1-6 7-5 6-3 but her performance was far from what the Court Two crowd expected from this promising 19-year-old. Having performed a masterclass of tennis just a day before the fans expected Robson to power through an opponent ranked 33 places lower than the world number 38 but early proceedings suggested this wouldn’t be the case.

Robson lost the first three games and was easily broken twice in the opening set as the Wimbledon home crowd’s expectations got to her. Her footwork on the baseline was off and she failed to make those powerful backhands that proved so significant during her routine victory over Mariana Duque the previous round.

Robson looked like a rabbit in the headlights and only after a sit down and introspective critique of her own game did she come out of her shell and prove just what potential she has to impress on the WTA. A close second set saw the Brit find her serving mojo and by the third there was only one player in it.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Robson has struggled with third-set confidence over the past two months but there was no lacking here as she thumped her opponent around the court, using that springing muscle in her backhand to carve open Erakovic.

Disappointing first-set stats

Disappointing first-set stats

Now into the last 16, the left-hander faces her toughest challenge yet in Kaia Kanepi, the Estonia world number 46 who breezed through the third round with an untroubled straight-sets victory against wildcard Alison Riske.

The last-16 tie is set to dominate Wimbledon’s headlines on Monday as British support gets behind their last remaining women’s star. Robson has the ability to overcome Kanepi with ease but how she handles the pressure will again come under scrutiny. The difference may even fall to who serves first in the match, for Robson struggled to recover in the opening set after going a game down so easily to the imposing Erakovic and only began her comeback when back level in the second.

She proved her mettle in the third set and that pressure visibly lifted. Her head was up and shoulders back that gave her the imposing, confident posture to reverse her fortunes. This was missing at Roland Garros and previous spring tournaments but that glimmer of class should see her through to the last eight.

Although hopes are high for Robson’s further advance, the quarters are as far as anyone can expect her to go, for Serena Williams lurks in the top side of the draw and is deserved favourite to win Wimbledon for a sixth time. Robson has the power to match Serena for about three shots a rally but her arm just isn’t developed enough to handle the 31-year-old’s punch.

Make no mistake, a Robson v Serena clash on Centre Court would be fitting for a tournament that has already seen major upsets this summer but we should not ask too much of a player so new to the Grand Slam game.

Photo: Carine06, flickr

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Hats off to newcomer Robson

Robson has had a remarkable season.Photo: Dacoucou

Robson has had a remarkable season.
Photo: Dacoucou

Laura Robson capped off an emphatic 2012 season this week after the Women’s Tennis Association crowned her the Newcomer of the Year.

Robson, 18, has enjoyed a breakthrough season that saw her rise in the rankings from 131 to 53. She became the first British woman in 22 years to make a WTA tour final, in Guangzhou, and reached the second week of the US Open, scalping Kim Clijsters and Li Na on the way.

“I looked at the list of past winners and it’s certainly a very impressive line-up that includes many of my idols growing up,” Robson told BBC Sport.

“I hope that I can go on to achieve close to what many of the past winners have achieved in their careers.”

Indeed, Robson is right to look at past names that have won the newcomer of the year award and feel confident she will make it at the top of the women’s game. The list includes Maria Sharapova (2003), Clijsters (1999) and Serena Williams (1998), all of whom have risen to become major players on the WTA circuit.

While Robson’s Guangzhou final achievement was somewhat overshadowed by fellow Brit Heather Watson’s triumph at the Japan Open a few days later, the 18-year-old will still be delighted with how her season has panned out. The pinnacle of her career so far is that coveted silver medal earned at London 2012 where Robson, partnered by Andy Murray, surged to the final on Centre Court before falling at the last hurdle.

2013 promises to be a huge year for Britain’s two brightest young talents and Robson will be hoping to break into the top 20 or even 10 by this time next year. Hats off to Laura for her WTA award and long may her success continue.

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