Robson close to US Open qualification

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The Independent Online

British teenager Laura Robson will today bid to qualify for the main draw of a grand slam for the first time after two stunning wins at the US Open.

The 15-year-old former Wimbledon junior champion made her senior slam debut at the All England Club in June after being given a wild card, losing in three sets to Daniela Hantuchova.

She was given a wild card into qualifying at Flushing Meadows and has certainly made the most of her opportunity.

Robson caused her second upset in as many days yesterday with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Hungary's Aniko Kapros, ranked 207 places above her in the world rankings.

Robson, ranked 460th, had on Wednesday beaten Stephanie Foretz of France, the world number 128, and the teenager now faces Eva Hrdinova of the Czech Republic, ranked 203rd, for a place in the main draw.

Robson rates the two wins as her best achievement, saying: "I had some good wins when I made the semi-finals of Shrewsbury last year but this definitely means the most to me.

"I came here just wanting to play as well as I could but getting to the final round of qualifying is obviously great and is a pretty good job by me - I'd give myself a big pat on the back."

British number two Elena Baltacha, the second seed in the qualifying tournament, advanced at the expense of another Czech, Andrea Hlavackova, winning 7-5 6-0, and will now face Australia's Anastasia Rodionova.

It is the second consecutive year Baltacha has reached the final round of qualifying and she is looking to go one better after making the main draw at the Australian Open and falling just short in Paris.

"I didn't really deserve to be in the last round of qualies last year but this year I am a much better player and things are completely different," the Scot said.

"I really do feel that I belong in the main draw of these tournaments and that gives you a lot of confidence. This time it doesn't come as a surprise to me that I'm in the final round of qualifying. Now I'm beginning to show that I can perform consistently."

Victory today would almost certainly mean Baltacha, who is currently ranked 102nd, breaking into the world's top 100 for the first time.

Qualifying third seed Katie O'Brien was ousted 6-2 6-4 by Georgian Anna Tatishvili while the fourth Briton to make the second round, Melanie South, lost 6-4 5-7 6-3 to German 15th seed Julia Schruff.

In the men's qualifying draw, Ireland's Conor Niland was a second-round casualty, falling 6-1 6-1 to Colombia's Alejandro Falla, the 31st seed.