There were black clouds high above Court 12 as Laura Robson prepared to open her girls singles second-round match against the American Krista Hardebeck yesterday. The native Melburnian turned Wimbledon resident and big British hope for the future started with a double fault but breezed through the first set 6-0. The sun came out for the second set but Robson's mood soon darkened as her booming serve crumbled in the opening game. There was a look of thunder on the face of the 16-year-old. Not for the last time.
Robson broke straight back but then lost three games in a row as her opponent sniffed the scent of a potential upset against the 2008 junior champion. To the joy of the partisan crowd, though, the Briton proceeded to make her class tell, regaining the groove and the momentum that took her from 2-4 down to a 6-4 completion of the job.
"I think it's always hard to keep up the kind of level that I was playing in the first set," she reflected. "I'm going to have to play a lot better tomorrow." Asked whether there might be a little more pressure to bear, as a former winner of the title, the eighth-seeded Robson shook her head. "Not necessarily," she said, "because I didn't win it last year. I'm not one of the high seeds in the juniors, so I'm just trying to focus match by match."
Robson was not the only British junior winner yesterday, as Tara Moore, Eleanor Dean and Oliver Golding also progressed.