Thursday, June 23, 2011
Rising star Robson leads winning ladies on Day 3.
Robson, just 17 years old and a former girls' singles champion here, held her nerve in a tense final set to defeat German Angelique Kerber in a fabulous come-from-behind victory, winning 4-6 7-6 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes.
Playing on Court 16 in front of a small yet vocal contingent, Robson remained calm despite nearly letting a 4-0 lead slip in the final set, celebrating jubilantly when Kerber struck her 15th unforced error. It was a case of third time lucky for the teenager - in her two prior Wimbledon main draw appearances she fell at the first hurdle.
Robson's performance belied her ranking of 254, as she struck an impressive 53 winners to only 30 errors. She joins fellow Briton Elena Baltacha in the second round.
Next up comes a stern test and will determine how her game stacks up against the game's best - she will take on No.5 seed and former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova on Court No.1 tomorrow.
The 13th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and 2010 semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova breezed through their respective matches. Radwanska advanced to the second round after Belarusian opponent Olga Govortsova retired when trailing 0-6 0-3, citing a left ankle injury, while Pironkova moved through to the third round with a routine 6-1 6-4 win over Croatia's Petra Martic.
Pironkova, seeded 32, will be looking to exact revenge on her 2010 semi-final conqueror Vera Zvonareva in the next round, after the world No.2 defeated fellow Russian Elena Vesnina later in the day.
Also progressing with little difficulty was Sabine Lisicki, who reached the second round with a 6-1 6-1 thumping of Latvian Anastasija Sevastova. Lisicki, winner of the lead-up event in Birmingham and a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2009, is making a promising return from a left ankle injury which saw her ranking dip almost as low as 200.
Now back up to 62 in the world rankings, the German next faces a far greater test in the form of third seed and French Open champion Li Na.
Australian Jarmila Gajdosova moved relatively comfortably through to the second round with a straight-set win over Alona Bondarenko, a match featuring two players heading in opposite career directions.
Gajdosova came into the tournament ranked inside the Top 30, enjoying career-best form and fitness under the tutelage of coach Gavin Hopper. She clubbed 38 winners to 15 throughout the 7-5 6-3 victory over Bondarenko, formerly 19 in the world but now ranked outside the Top 100 after a season marred by a right knee injury.
The 25th seed Dominika Cibulkova played out a dramatic three-set affair against former teen prodigy Mirjana Lucic, winning 3-6 6-3 8-6 on Court 15.
Later in the evening, Andrea Petkovic and Daniela Hantuchova won their outside court encounters, albeit in contrasting styles. Hantuchova breezed through to the third round with a straight-sets dismissal of Kiwi qualifier Marina Erakovic. Petkovic, meanwhile, advanced to the same stage in rapidly fading light by staving off a fast-finishing Stephanie Dubois, wrapping up the match 6-3 4-6 6-3 at 9.20pm.