• Wimbledon, Day Five

Robson demolishes Duque-Marino

ESPN staff
June 28, 2013
Laura Robson gave the British fans on Centre Court what they came to see © PA Photos

Laura Robson motored into the third round of Wimbledon with a 6-4 6-1 win over Mariana Duque-Marino on Friday.

The Brit, whose match was delayed 24 hours and bumped onto Centre Court on account of persistent rain on Thursday afternoon, adjusted well to playing under the roof as she overpowered her Colombian opponent - in the process securing her best ever run in this event at the All England Club.

The serve mixed the brilliant with the abject, but the groundstrokes were hot as she reached the last-32 at Wimbledon for the first time in her career.

"It's a big win for me," Robson said. "Any match on Centre Court is a big one and it was a great atmosphere out there.

"I was kind of feeling nervous, but luckily I've played on Centre a couple of times before."

After the first round demolition of tenth seed Maria Kirilenko on Tuesday, Robson came into this contest in an unfamiliar position - the heavily-backed favourite, expected not to falter in front of a hugely partisan home crowd.

For a 19-year-old with an inconsistent serve and track record of struggling against lower-ranked players it could have been a daunting stage but, a few hiccups apart, she dealt magnificently with the challenge.

It was Duque-Marino who made the early running, the Colombian breaking in the third game of the contest. Robson was unable to dig herself out of a hole with her serve (an erratic delivery being what got her into the difficulty in the first place) as her opponent broke at the second time of asking with a fine serve-and-volley point.

Robson duly hit straight back, however, her greater power proving important as Duque-Marino struggled to cope. At 3-2 she then broke again, a succession of rangy groundstrokes ultimately exhausting the desperately fire-fighting Duque-Marino.

Perhaps realising that her only hope of outwitting Robson was to vary her play somewhat, Duque-Marino began to drop more shots short and experiment with different disguises. The tactic had its moments - getting her out of a sticky situation while serving at 5-2 - but was perhaps not the overriding cause for her getting back into the match; Robson making a series of unforced errors at 5-3 to hand over her break advantage.

The mistake changed the atmosphere slightly inside a suddenly-uncertain Centre Court but, after a break for a change of ends, Robson composed herself and duly savaged Duque-Marino on her own serve - claiming the set after forcing her scrambling opponent, not for the first time, to dump a desperate reaching shot into the net.

The second set was not as fraught, with Robson proving more consistent on serve and thus more impenetrable throughout. She raced into a 3-0 lead after passing across court for an early break and held onto that advantage from there, keeping Duque-Marino's attacks at bay with the clinical edge of a dominant player.

Another break of serve removed any sense of danger, as Robson duly sealed the second set to move beyond the second round at SW19 for the first time in her fledgling senior career.

One senses it will not be the last time.

Elsewhere, last year's semi-finalist Angelique Kerber was surprisingly ousted, the seventh seed falling to Kaia Kanepi - who was caused such trouble in the first round by Tara Moore - in a 3-6 7-6(6) 6-3 contest.

The reigning girls champion Eugenie Bouchard was also ousted - Robson's best friend being beaten by world No. 18 Carla Suarez-Navarro. Kirsten Flipkens is through, however.

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