Laura Robson followed the example of Heather Watson 24 hours earlier to move into the second round of the Australian Open for the first time here today. Robson, playing in the city of her birth, delighted a large and supportive crowd on Court Three by sweeping aside Melanie Oudin 6-2, 6-3.
Striking the ball superbly from the baseline, Robson had the American on the run from the start, winning the first four games. The 18-year-old Briton cracked 20 winners, most of them with her bludgeoning forehand, in taking the first set.
The second set was tighter, with Oudin breaking back to level at 3-3, but the world No 84 was unable to hold back the flow of winners as Robson won the last three games. In the second round she will play Petra Kvitova, the world No 8 and 2011 Wimbledon champion.
“I served well,” Robson said afterwards. “I was a little bit iffier than I would have liked on my ground strokes, but after I came off the match court I went on the practice court a little bit and just worked out a few things.”
She added: “I was a little bit nervous on court today. When there’s a big crowd like that you always want to push yourself to do better and sometimes that translates into a bit of nerves.”
Jamie Baker was unable to make it a clean sweep of British victories in the first round of the singles and was beaten 7-6, 7-5, 6-2 by the Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol. The 26-year-old Scot had his chances. He served for both the first two sets but was unable to drive home his advantage. Roger Federer eased into the second round with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 victory over France’s Benoit Paire.
Serena Williams crushed Romania's Edina Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0, but suffered an injury scare in the process. The American turned her ankle towards the end of the match and lay on the court until medical support arrived. She had the ankle strapped and admitted afterwards: “It was definitely a lot of pain.”