British teen subdues Japanese veteran
Britain's teenage star Laura Robson took another step forward in her quest to break into the top 50 in the world yesterday, battling past an opponent more than twice her age at the China Open in Beijing.
The world number 57, who reached the final of the Guangzhou Open just over a week ago, continued her Asian adventure by defeating Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-4, 6-4 to ease into the second round of the Premier Mandatory event.
But it was far from plain sailing for the 18-year-old Robson, who had to fight back brilliantly from three games down in the first set, winning five without reply against Date-Krumm, 42, as youth ultimately overpowered experience.
"I'm feeling confident when I play at the moment. Even when I'm not playing my best like I was today I still feel that I am able to win matches," Robson said.
Date-Krumm raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set as Robson struggled with her serve and made a number of unforced errors. But several big forehands from the young Briton saw her gain confidence and the Japanese was no match for her opponent's power.
Robson, who ended last year in 131st place in the WTA standings, took the second set with relative ease, maintaining her recent momentum in the "Asia swing" of the tour.
"I was a double-break down in the first set and I knew I had to get a lot better and start moving my feet a bit more," Robson said.
"She's a tough opponent to play against because she hits the ball very low so you have to bend your legs a lot more than I like to."
Robson next plays Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino, who beat Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.