Laura Robson Wimbledon win
Laura Robson, 19, took another giant step towards the big-time, building on her upset victory over the Russian 10th seed Maria Kirilenko to out-hit the gutsy qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino en route to the Wimbledon third round. Robson, the British number 1, has sometimes looked more at ease against big-name opponents than the Tour’s journeywomen and both she and the Colombian ranked a lowly 162 in the world betrayed their nerves on Centre Court during the opening exchanges. With the roof in place after early drizzle and the ball bouncing low, Duque-Marino, who had upset world number 35 Julia Goerges in the first round with her cannily-sliced groundstrokes, broke Robson’s serve amid widespread groans and teeth-sucking from the spectators. The teenager promptly broke back as she found her length and banged down a string of booming forehands that often wrong-footed her opponent. When leading 5-2 in the first set, she again lost her way in jittery fashion but at 5-4, she kept going for her shots and broke Duque-Marino to take the set.
She turned up the power and despite occasional lapses into inconsistency, visibly gained in confidence and fluency to lead 4-1 to the delight of the patriotic crowd. From there it was one-way traffic as Robson reeled off the last 10 points to record an encouraging victory in 67 minutes.
“I didn’t think I played my best,” she confessed. “My timing wasn’t perfect so I had to deal with that as best I could and managed to control it. It’s a big win for me. Any match on the Centre Court is big for me. The crowd under the roof is a lot louder, which is really exciting – you feel so much more of an atmosphere.
“I think I’m handling the pressure and the crowd support fine. I love it when they get involved. Sometimes they do a massive groan when I deliver a double fault, but I’m doing it too, so we’re going through it together. It’s just about getting through a match I should be winning. I knew I was favourite to win this match and I thought I handled it pretty well. I was nervous, but I thought she must be more nervous because I’ve played on the Centre Court before. So I just got away with that one.”
She now takes on the New Zealand doubles specialist Marina Erakovicz, who is also lower ranked, at number 73, for a place in the 4th round. Her section of the draw is opening up encouragingly with the big-hitting German Angelique Kerber, seeded 7, knocked out by the powerful Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. After Robson’s wins against several star names, her ability to cope with the pressure of expectation from the success-starved British public and to conquer her nerves against underdog opponents will now be under the microscope.