Brilliant Robson stuns 10th seed Kirilenko

Laura Robson lifted the doom and gloom surrounding British tennis as she moved into the second round of Wimbledon with a shock win over 10th seed Maria Kirilenko.

Robson celebrates a vital point!

Talk was rife about the poor state of British tennis this afternoon following Heather Watson's first-round exit, which came hot on the heels of six failures yesterday.

Robson arguably had the toughest draw of all 10 British participants, but she barely had to break sweat as she brushed aside Kirilenko 6-3 6-4 on a rowdy Court One this afternoon.

The British number one put in a typically brutal display of powerful tennis to break once in the first set, and she survived a bout of nerves in the second to wrap up the win in one hour and 17 minutes.

With Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper and Fed Cup captain Judy Murray watching on, Robson started confidently.

She raced through her first service game inside two minutes, but Kirilenko then held to love after Robson over-hit a couple of simple shots.

Robson powered down two aces to move 2-1 ahead and she took Kirilenko to deuce in the following game but initially struggled to make inroads against the Russian's serve.

That changed in the eighth game. Robson returned a powerful forehand to earn two break points and she grasped the first one available, hitting a sweet cross-court forehand to give her a chance to serve for the set.

Robson, 19, showed no sign of nerves, smashing down a 109mph ace before winning the crucial game when Kirilenko sent a forehand return beyond the baseline.

Kirilenko struggled to get her first serve in at the start of the second set, but she held on by the skin of her teeth.

Robson wasted a good chance to move 15-0 up on Kirilenko's serve when she wastefully put a delicate drop shot into the net when she had three quarters of the court to aim for.

She quickly learned the error of her ways, reverting to her preferred power game. The move paid off as Robson earned a break point and she took advantage with a neat backhand winner off Kirilenko's second serve.

Robson then held to love to move 3-1 up.

The 19-year-old thought she had squandered a chance to move two breaks up in the fifth game when she wasted three break points, but she did not squander a fourth, returning a powerful one-handed forehand winner.

The jitters then hit the young Englishwoman. Robson double-faulted on her way to offering Kirilenko two break opportunities and she converted the second when the home favourite carelessly cleared the baseline with a routine forehand.

Robson took a tense eighth game despite an early double fault and she held back the nerves to clinch the first match point available with another aggressive forehand.

Robson told the BBC: "I am still so nervous, even on the last point I didn't know whether my forehand was good or not.

"I think that was a big one for me because of all the nerves and playing in front of your home crowd at Wimbledon.

"I could have gone 5-1 up in the second and lost my focus a little bit. I started to think about winning and I got back to focusing point by point. I thought I served pretty well today.

"[Winning silver at the Olympics in the mixed doubles] definitely boosted my confidence. Any big win gives you loads of confidence so I am going to go into the next match with a good focus, I think."

Robson told the BBC: "I am still so nervous, even on the last point I didn't know whether my forehand was good or not.

"I think that was a big one for me because of all the nerves and playing in front of your home crowd at Wimbledon.

"I could have gone 5-1 up in the second and lost my focus a little bit. I started to think about winning and I got back to focusing point by point. I thought I served pretty well today [Sunday].

"[Winning silver at the Olympics in the mixed doubles] definitely boosted my confidence. Any big win gives you loads of confidence so I am going to go into the next match with a good focus, I think."

Robson's victory made her the first British woman to beat a top 10 opponent at Wimbledon since 1998 when Sam Smith defeated Conchita Martinez.

Pat Cash, who won Wimbledon in 1987, thinks Robson has the potential to go on and win grand slams.

The Australian said on Twitter: "Just watched a future top 5 and i think a slam winner Laura Robson crush 10th seed Kirilenko."



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