Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Spotlight On ... Laura Robson

After claiming the 2008 Girls’ Singles title at Wimbledon, Laura Robson became the youngest champion since Martina Hingis. The fourteen-year-old Brit had been making waves on the junior circuit for a while already, having won four titles and made the final of several other tournaments. This was her biggest junior title to date though, and her first ever junior Grand Slam event. She rose from # 36 to #5 on the ITF junior rankings following her Wimbledon success.

She was born in Australia but moved to the UK as a child and now competes for Great Britain. Laura made her professional debut in a $10K tournament in France, where she entered the qualifying tournament. She qualified with ease and edged past Alice Balducci to win her first ITF main draw match. That was to be the end of her tournament as she sustained a shoulder injury during her second round match against the 2nd seed, and retired while trailing in the first set.

Her second ITF tournament was $75K Shrewsbury (UK). She was given a wildcard into the main draw, and beat compatriot Sarah Borwell for her second ITF main draw win. She had a mucher tough test in the second round against fellow rising star Urszula Radwanska, who is also a Junior Wimbledon champion, and looks set to crack the top 100 soon. Against the odds, she stunned Radwanska in straight sets and followed that up with a straight sets win over 4th seeded Israeli Tzipora Obziler, who is 21 years her senior. She took 2nd seed Maret Ani to three sets but fell away in the decider.

She gained her first WTA world ranking after scoring a point in $50K Barnstaple (l. to Angelique Kerber in the opening round), debuting at #550. She made her WTA main draw debut in WTA Luxembourg, losing to top 50 player, Iveta Benesova, in three sets in the first round. She won her first ITF title in $10K Sunderland before returning to the junior circuit for the Eddie Herr Junior International Championships and the Orange Bowl.

She kicked off her 2009 season with a final appearance in the junior Australian Open (l. to Ksenia Pervak). She reached # 1 in the combined ITF junior rankings in early 2009 following this run. Injury affected her season after that, and her next big tournament came at Wimbledon, where she received a main draw wildcard as a reward for her exploits at junior Wimbledon last year. She pushed Daniela Hantuchova to three sets but ultimately came up short. Turning her attention back to the junior tournament, she cruised through to the third round before losing a tight three-set match with Quirine Lemoine.

Back on the ITF circuit, Laura faltered in qualifying for $25K events in Europe. She has been awarded a qualifying wildcard for the US Open and beat 21st seed Stephanie Foretz in her opening match and followed up with a battling win over former top 50 player Aniko Kapros. She takes on Eva Hrdinova for a place in the main draw.

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