Robson sails on taking rough with smooth

first_imgWimbledon 2008 Share on Facebook Share on Facebook There was no pumping of fists or flexing of biceps but Laura Robson did more than enough yesterday to establish herself as Britain’s latest Wimbledon hero. In a show of technical excellence and mental maturity the 14-year-old made it into today’s junior final with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Romana Tabakova of Slovakia.Another victory will make her the first domestic winner of a singles title here in 24 years. Much like Annabel Croft, the girls’ champion of 1984, Robson exudes an unmistakable “English Rose” quality but observers of the junior circuit and any one of the 800 spectators who filled Court Three yesterday will know that a determined competitor lurks within her diminutive frame. Fri 4 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT Share on Messenger @SachinNakrani … we have a small favour to ask. 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This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Topics Shares00 Read more Having taken the first set in 27 minutes, in which she twice hit aces of over 100mph as well as a series of point-winning forehands, Robson was made to toil through the second by an opponent who diminished respect for an impressive backhand by tactics that can fairly be described as dubious. After taking a toilet break and calling for a trainer, Tabakova gave no warning before hitting an underhand serve to win the eighth game, a ploy that not only stoked the ire of the crowd but led the usually restrained Robson to describe her later as “desperate”.The English girl, annoyed as she may have been, stayed focused enough to prevail, though, and having destroyed the No1 seed, Melanie Oudin, in the second round, will go into today’s encounter with Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, the No3 seed and a girl almost three years her senior, knowing glory is there for the taking.”I’m just going to try to play the best that I can; getting to a Wimbledon final in itself means a lot. I didn’t think I would get there at the start of the week so to have made it is an overwhelming experience,” said the teenager, who lives within walking distance of the All England Club. “I think I will be quite nervous just beforehand but I’m just going to try and put that to the back of my head and stay calm.”The ability to remain sanguine as expectations rise around her is something Robson appears to have mastered. Having established herself as Britain’s No2 junior in less than a year – she is the youngest girl in the Lawn Tennis Association top-10 rankings – the Melbourne-born left-hander has been spoken of as a future grand slam winner for some time now, most notably by Roger Draper, the chief executive of the LTA.Robson, playing in her first Wimbledon, describes such compliments as “nice” and claims they have no bearing on her performances but, having trained with the former world No1 Martina Hingis, who won three grand slam titles, including Wimbledon, by the age of 17, she is notgetting carried away by the hype.”I definitely want to be playing in the seniors in the next 12 months,” she said, “And if I win the final, then I’ll get a wild card for the women’s draw here next year which would be really good.”Win or lose against Thailand’s Lertcheewakarn, Robson will be able to attend tomorrow’s Champions Ball, an event which seems to ignite as much as excitement in her than the final itself. “I’m really looking forward to it because it means I get to pick out a dress,” she said. “I remember last year [Jelena] Jankovic wore a bright pink one; I don’t think I’ll be going down that route.” Opinionated, talented and on the verge of creating modern history, Laura Robson has arrived. Share on Twitter Share via Email Tennis Since you’re here… First published on Fri 4 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT Wimbledon Share via Email The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Robson sails on, taking rough with smooth Support The Guardian Share on WhatsApp Laura Robson Laura Robson has reached the junior Wimbledon final despite being the youngest player in the draw. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Wimbledon Sachin Nakrani Reuse this contentlast_img

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