Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Robson out but not down

Laura Robson’s efforts to break into the WTA top-50 by the end of the season suffered a big blow after the Briton lost out to Chang Kai-Chen in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open.

Robson, in superb form this latter half of the season, was heavily fancied in tennis previews of this game to beat world number 134 Chang. but a spirited fightback from the Taipei 21-year-old ended her hopes of winning a first WTA tour event.

The Brit lost 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-4) and endured a gruelling third set with neither player conceding their serve. Indeed, so ferocious was the set at times that Robson looked beat on her feet and were it not for some bad luck in the tie break she would be in the semis by now.

The loss also means British tennis fans won’t get the rare spectacle of seeing two female players in the semi-finals of the same tournament. Placed in separate halves of the draw, there was vain hope among British fans watching live tennis online back home that Robson would meet Heather Watson in the final in Osaka. Yet despite her best efforts the 18-year-old could not replicate Watson’s feat of reaching the semis.

Nevertheless, Robson should be pleased that quarter-final defeats are now a disappointment rather than a learning curve. The world number 56 has an Olympic silver medal to her name and made the fourth round of the US Open this year, overcoming former champion Kim Clijsters and Li Na. She made the final of Guangzhou last month and is now a bona fide member of the WTA tour: a sure challenger for titles in the near future.

Granted, a place in the Japan semis would have been a dream for Robson but with a long career ahead of her she take heed in knowing she can mix it with the best.

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