Local hope Robson through, next faces Erakovic

MITCH PHILLIPS
Last updated 04:32 29/06/2013
Laura Robson
Getty Images

KIWI UP NEXT: Laura Robson, who face Marina Erakovic in the third round, plays a forehand shot during the conclusion of her match against Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino.

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Home favourite Laura Robson was the toast of Wimbledon again today 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 yesterday.

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 three days ago, Robson started as a clear favourite in front of her home fans.

With both women occasionally employing a floaty sliced backhand, something of a rarity at the top level these days, the rallies had some real variety even if there were too many basic errors to worry any of the big names in the draw.

Both players struggled to find any consistency early on but Robson eventually settled to take a first set that featured five breaks of serve.

Once Roson had pocketed that she grew in confidence and started delivering some real power with her groundstrokes to race through the second set virtually untroubled and 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."

Meanwhile, last year's semifinalist Angelique Kerber was sent packing in the second round of Wimbledon after being just two points from victory, joining the long list of seeded players who have crashed out at the All England Club this week.

The seventh-seeded Kerber was a set up and 5-1 ahead in the tiebreak of the second set against the 46th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia but could not find a way to close out the match. She lost 3-6 7-6 (6) 6-3.

Kanepi, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2010, won five consecutive points in the tiebreak before taking the set then the first three games of the decider.

Their match had been rescheduled from yesterday because of rain.

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- Reuters

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