NEW YORK (AFP) –
British teen Laura Robson ousted Chinese ninth seed Li Na from the US Open on Friday to book a fourth-round showdown against defending champion Samantha Stosur at the year’s last Grand Slam event.
Robson, an 18-year-old left-hander who ended the career of three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters with a second-round triumph, took her first victory over a top-10 foe by downing 2011 French Open winner Li 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2.
“It was really tough,” Robson said.
Australian seventh-seed Stosur, who has not won a title since lifting the US Open trophy last year, reached the fourth round with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over US 31st seed Varvara Lepchenko.
“She’s already had two very good wins and she’s full of confidence,” Stosur said. “I’m going have to be ready to play my best game if I’m going to beat her.
“It can be a very tricky match. She’s got nothing to lose and she has had two of the biggest wins of her career.”
Robson, who was born in Australia but moved to Britain at age six, became the first British woman in the fourth round of a Grand Slam since Sam Smith at Wimbledon in 1998 and the first in the Open’s last 16 since Jo Durie in 1991.
Robson, the youngest player in the world top 100 at 89th, ensured this would be Li’s first season since 2008 not to reach the last eight at any Grand Slam tournament.
Uzbek-born lefthander Lepchenko, who became a US citizen a year ago, has still never beaten a top-10 player. She was trying to match her best Grand Slam result, this year’s fourth-round French Open run.
After fighting to 5-5 in the tie-breaker, Lepchenko sent a lob and a backhand wide to surrender the opening set after 59 minutes. Stosur broke in the third and fifth games of the second set and held to finish in 88 minutes.
“As the match went on I got a little more comfortable and relaxed a little bit more,” Stosur said. “In the first set I felt like I served really well. That’s how I was able to get into those games in the second set.”
Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer moved into the third round by ousting Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (14/12).
Ferrer, a 2007 US Open semi-finalist in his best Grand Slam run, battled through five match points and denied the Dutchman on three set points in the tie-break before Sijsling netted a forehand to end it after two hours and seven minutes.
“He played very well in the third set,” Ferrer said. “I was pleased to get it done.”
French 11th seed Marion Bartoli also advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over compatriot Kristina Mladenovic.
Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic will face Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva later as the second-seeded Serb bids for a spot in the third round.
And Andy Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion who announced Thursday that this would be the final event of his career, later tries to keep his career going into the weekend, the US 20th seed facing Australian Bernard Tomic.
Third-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova, the reigning French Open champion, meets US wildcard Mallory Burdette and Belarus top seed Victoria Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion, plays China’s Zheng Jie in later matches.