Sharapova comes through Robson test
Originally published on: 24/06/11 15:21
Maria Sharapova shrugged off a flying start from 17-year-old Brit Laura Robson to keep her hopes of repeating her 2004 Wimbledon triumph alive.
The 24-year-old Russian, who was Robson’s age when she claimed her first Grand Slam title on the lawns of SW19, hit back from a break down in the opening set to win 7-6 6-3 in an hour and 48 minutes.
Put under immediate pressure by her young opponent, the three-time Grand Slam champ was given a testing work out early on. Robson pulled up three opportunities to break and converted on the third when the 2004 champion threw in the second of five double faults in her opening service game.
Sharapova continued to struggle to find the box with her overhead as Robson excelled on hers, but the grunting Russian broke the comparatively silent Brit in the seventh game and kept toe-to-toe with the 17-year-old until the tiebreak.
Robson, who defeated Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez for her first win over a top 30 player at the Hopman Cup in 2010, pulled back in front for a 4-2 advantage in the breaker, but Sharapova unleashed a smattering of hefty ground strokes to claim the next five points and clinch the opening set in 68 minutes.
It wasn’t entirely one-way traffic from then on – Robson managed two more breaks of serve in the second set – but the former world No.1 wrestled her way through to victory despite never entirely entering top gear.
“I didn’t play my best today. I made a few more errors than I had to,” admitted Sharapova, who went on to praise the efforts of Robson. “She started off the match so well,” she said. “She was going for her shots so well. I couldn’t get too many looks on her first serve. She’s young, moving up and playing really good tennis.”