Robson maintains British hopes in Open

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray may have gone, but Laura Robson was doing her best to maintain British interest at the Australian Open here today. The Wimbledon junior champion reached the third round of the girls' singles by beating Thailand's Kanyapat Narattana 6-3, 7-6 and in the afternoon won her doubles.

When Narattana led 5-1 in the second set it seemed the 15-year-old Briton might melt in the heat of what became a scorching day. However, Robson fought her way back into contention and won the eventual tie-break 7-0 to secure victory after an hour and 20 minutes. She now plays Croatia's Silvia Njiric, who has dropped only seven games in her first two matches.

"It was good to come back," Robson said afterwards. "I was lucky to play in the morning because I know that it's definitely going to get a lot hotter during the day. I tried to keep cool, putting the ice bag on during the changeovers.

"In the tie-break I just focused a lot more. I was focusing on trying to get my first serves in. That seemed to work and I thought an ace was a good way to finish."

At one point when she was struggling Robson took out her frustrations on her racket. "It was just a little bounce – there's nothing wrong with that," she said with a smile. "I just thought to myself that I wasn't focused and I didn't really want to play another set out in that heat, so I just got my act together."



Robson, who went on to partner Bulgaria's Anna Orlik to a 6-1, 6-0 victory over the American Ester Goldfeld and Britain's Hannah James, has been in Australia for the last month and is growing accustomed to the conditions. "Last week there was one day when it got really hot and I was really struggling then during the doubles," she said. "But so far it's been good. I think I'm getting used to it now.

"My coach has been forcing water down me. I've never drunk so much water in my life. This afternoon I'll also be having an ice bath. When I was really hot last time I actually enjoyed the ice bath."

Robson had a chat with Murray when the world No 4 practised before his fourth-round match yesterday and watched with his entourage later in the afternoon as he lost to Fernando Verdasco. The young Briton has also been talking to Serena Williams. "She was asking who I was here with," Robson said. "She came up to me and started talking to me, so I guess she knew who I was. I was too nervous to talk to her so I was just giving one-word answers all the time."

Away from the courts Robson is having to keep up with her studies. "I've been emailing my English tutor a lot because I'm starting my course work now for my GCSEs," she said. "I'm just going to do English and Maths this year. Next year I'll do Science, Geography and History. I work whenever I have free time. It's hard to do it when I'm spending most of the day here at the club, waiting for doubles and everything, but in the evening I'll just try to get some done."

Did she find it hard to concentrate on her tennis as well as her studies? "While I'm here at the site I try to focus on tennis pretty much all the time because that's really what I'm here for."

There were no prizes for guessing her favourite subject. "PE," Robson said without hesitation.

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