Teen Laura Robson gives home fans reason to cheer at Wimbledon

Young Briton seizes Centre Court moment to reach Wimbledon third round for the first time

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 4:05am

Home favourite Laura Robson was the toast of Wimbledon again yesterday as the 19-year-old reached the third round for the first time, five years after being dubbed the "next big thing" in British women's tennis.

By this stage of the tournament the only British female presence is usually the ball girls but Robson, who won the junior Wimbledon title as a 14-year-old, was given the unexpected honour of playing on Centre Court after her match was postponed by rain on Thursday.

She duly rose to the occasion and surfed a wave of home support to beat Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino 6-4, 6-1.

"It's a big win for me," said Robson. "Any match on Centre Court is a big one and it was a great atmosphere out there and having the roof closed just made it louder."

Robson had never gone beyond the second round at Wimbledon, though she did reach the fourth at last year's US Open - the first British woman to last that long in a grand slam event for 14 years.

Being the best British woman player at Wimbledon is admittedly a relatively limited sub-group but, having beaten 10th seed Maria Kirilenko on Tuesday, Robson started as a clear favourite in front of her home fans.

Robson now has a winnable third-round meeting with New Zealander Marina Erakovic.

"I didn't think I played my best, my timing was a bit off, but I just had to accept that and try to control it," she said.

"I was feeling nervous but then thought she was probably more nervous than I was.

"I'm really excited. I'm going to play doubles this afternoon, if it stops raining, and get ready for tomorrow."

German veteran Tommy Haas ended Jimmy Wang's hopes of a first grand-slam third-round appearance as the Taiwanese qualifier was crushed 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.

Wang, the world number 151, had never been past the second round at a grand slam. But Haas, seeded 13th, overwhelmed Wang in just over 90 minutes to set up a last-32 clash against Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

Wang, 28, has played mainly on the second-tier Challenger circuit this year.

Unseeded Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who unseated seven-time champion Roger Federer earlier this week, lost 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 to Juergen Melzer of Germany in the third round.

Reuters, Agence France-Presse