Robson all smiles after earning Sharapova tie but tears for Watson

Laura Robson has been overshadowed by the achievements of Heather Watson, her fellow British teenager, for most of this year but last night it was the turn of the 2008 Wimbledon junior champion to enjoy her moment in the sun. A chilly day which had got off to a late start because of rain ended with the crowd on Court 16 warmed by the broadest of smiles as the 17-year-old celebrated her first victory in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.

After Watson had been reduced to tears following her 6-2, 4-6, 4-6 defeat to France's Mathilde Johansson, the 19-year-old's chances having been scuppered by an elbow injury, Robson enjoyed the most memorable win of her senior career when she beat Germany's Angelique Kerber 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

Robson joined her fellow Britons, Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong, in the second round – in which Keothavong was beaten 6-2, 6-1 last night by the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova – and this afternoon faces Maria Sharapova, who won Wimbledon when she was Robson's age seven years ago.

"I'm going to play on Court One against Sharapova so that's pretty special," Robson said. "You have to be confident going into these matches because otherwise what's the point? I'm really happy with today, but tomorrow's really important, so I'll have to refocus and get a gameplan."

Twenty months younger than Watson, who broke into the world's top 100 earlier this year, Robson has been through a difficult period. She sacked her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, last week and has been hampered by injuries, partly the result of a growth spurt. Having reached a career-high No 206 in the world rankings last year, she has since slipped to No 254, though last night's win could take her into the top 200 for the first time.

Now 5ft 11in, Robson has also added muscle to her frame. Her movement has been a weakness and is still likely to be the area she has to concentrate on, though she appeared to change direction with more fluency than she has in the past.

Robson's major weapons remain her big leftie serve and pounding ground strokes. She put 71 per cent of her first serves in court and her forehand looked in excellent shape as she belted 53 winners past Kerber, the world No 77. Robson, who had lost to seeded players in the opening round of her first two Wimbledon appearances, recovered well after losing the first set and levelled the match after playing a splendid tie-break, which she won 7-4. She took charge of the third set, winning the first four games, but Kerber took a medical time-out at 4-1 down to have treatment on her left arm, after which she brought the score back to 4-3. Robson kept her nerve however, broke to lead 5-3 with a splendid forehand cross-court winner and then served out for the match.

After the match Robson could barely keep a smile off her face. "In the second set I tried to pump myself up a bit and hang in there," she said. "I felt I played really well on the big points and that's what made the difference."

Watson had appeared in control of her match until she served at 2-3 and 0-40 in the second set. The 19-year-old from Guernsey doubled up in pain, clutching her right elbow, as Johansson hit a rasping forehand return winner. Watson received treatment from a trainer, but despite the strapping on her elbow was clearly struggling with her serve.

Nevertheless, she did not go down without a fight. After losing the second set Watson recovered from 4-2 down in the decider to level at 4-4. When Johansson served at 15-30 in the next game it seemed the momentum might have swung decisively in Watson's favour, but the Frenchwoman held on. Watson, gritting her teeth, saved four match points, but on the fifth she put a forehand into the net.

Watson was in tears afterwards as she bemoaned her luck in suffering the injury when on the brink of the biggest win of her career. "I've never felt anything like this before," she said. "I really wanted to win and I thought I had the match. I'm just asking myself now: 'Why me? Why couldn't it have happened in another tournament? Why this one?' This was the hardest defeat of my professional career because it was a great opportunity for me."

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace