BEIJING (AFP) –
Britain’s teenage star Laura Robson took another step forward in her quest to break into the top 50 in the world on Sunday, battling past an opponent more than twice her age at the China Open in Beijing.
The world number 57, who reached the final of the Guangzhou Open just over a week ago, continued her Asia adventure by defeating Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-4, 6-4 to ease into the second round of the Premier Mandatory event.
But it was far from plain sailing for the 18-year-old Robson, who fought back brilliantly from three games down in the first set, winning five without reply against Date-Krumm, 42, as youth ultimately overpowered experience.
Date-Krumm raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set as Robson struggled with her serve and made a number of unforced errors.
But several big forehands from the young Briton saw her gain confidence and the Japanese was no match for her opponent’s power.
Robson, who ended last year in 131st place in the WTA standings, took the second set with relative ease, maintaining her recent momentum in the “Asia swing” of the tour.
The mixed doubles silver medallist at the London Olympics has shot up the world rankings this year, in large part due to a fourth-round appearance at the US Open and her exploits in Guangzhou.
Elsewhere, sixth seed Sara Errani from Italy was forced to retire with a thigh injury, meaning compatriot Camila Giorgi went through.
Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina also took their places in the second round with straight sets victories against Maria Kirilenko and Mona Barthel respectively.
Unseeded Monica Niculescu of Romania beat the Czech Republic’s 16th seed Lucie Safarova 6-2, 6-0 while Ayumi Morita of Japan knocked out Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-3, 6-0.