British juniors hit historic high as Golding and Robson reach semis
Friday 02 July 2010
Andy Murray may remain alone on the burning deck, but at least the next generation is beginning to pump water. For the first time since 1972, Britain has semi-finalists in both the boys' and girls' singles. Oliver Golding can already mimic Murray's downbeat Stirlingshire drawl, with comical authenticity, but yesterday gave notice that he may some day emulate his resilience and class, too, coming from a set and a break down to beat Renzo Olivo. The 16-year-old Londoner seemed nervy in the early stages, but saved three break points at 2-2 in the deciding set and pulled off a magnificent forehand at his own first break opportunity, on match point, to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
There had been three Britons still involved on quarter-finals day for the first time since 2001, but there were never going to be more than two today because Tara Moore had the misfortune of meeting her compatriot, Laura Robson, in the girls' event. Since winning here two years ago, Robson has performed with promise against her seniors, not least against Jelena Jankovic last week. But that brings its own pressures when she returns to this level, and she yielded an early break before turning things round, 7-5, 6-1.
Robson refused to rise to the bait when questioned later about a TV commentator's verdict that "puppy fat" was inhibiting her mobility. A BBC spokesman said David Mercer had apologised to her for any offence, and she insisted none had been taken. "It's not a big deal," she said. "It doesn't bother me at all." In 2001, incidentally, the three home quarter-finalists were Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Ken Skupski. So perhaps nobody should be getting too carried away just yet.
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