Robson reaches for the stars as she eyes amazing hat-trick

Sam Stosur is next in line today for Briton who is changing the game's established order

Flushing Meadows

Chris Evert, who knows a thing or two about winning Grand Slam titles, said the US Open had witnessed "a star being born". Ever since Laura Robson won junior Wimbledon four years ago the world of tennis has talked about her potential. In the space of two matches the youngest player in the world's top 100 has underlined what a glorious future she could have ahead of her.

Having beaten two Grand Slam champions in Kim Clijsters and Li Na to become the first British woman to reach the fourth round here for 21 years, 18-year-old Robson today has the chance to claim a third successive major scalp when she meets Sam Stosur, the defending champion.

The Australian will give Robson the respect she deserves. "She's probably got nothing to lose," Stosur said. "She's had two of probably the best wins of her career, and she's starting to live up to some of that potential that people have talked about from when she won junior Wimbledon when she was 14. You can't go into it lightly. You've got to be aware that she's going to come out swinging maybe and have that confidence behind her."

The achievement in beating Clijsters and Li was remarkable enough, but what was stunning about Robson's performances was the manner of the victories. The Belgian and the Chinese are both athletic big-hitters who blast opponents off the court, but Robson upset them with the power of her own shot-making and her ability to make them play the extra ball.

Robson has always had big shots – Andy Murray summed it up neatly when he said she has "very easy power and great timing" – but until this summer the worry was that her lack of speed and her sometimes leaden footwork might prevent her from reaching the top.

All that has changed in the last few months. Time and again, against both Clijsters and Li, Robson chased down shots that she would never have reached in the past and returned the ball deep and with pace. Nevertheless, she has maintained the attacking game that has been fundamental to her success. "My game is based on being aggressive, and if I don't play that way then I probably wouldn't be doing very well," Robson said.

Growing pains and injuries have held Robson back in the last two years and she believes a big factor in her recent success has been her fitness. "This summer has been the first one where I have been injury free," she said. "In the past I might have done two or three days of work. I needed a few days to get over another little niggle. This time I have just been able to keep going."

Jez Green, one of Murray's physical trainers, has played a part in Robson's transformation. "We approached Jez to see if he would have some time to work with me over the summer and he did, which has been really great," Robson said.

Even more important has been Robson's recruitment of a new coach, the Croatian Zeljko Krajan, who guided Dinara Safina to No 1 in the world rankings. "In the last few weeks I have gained a bit of confidence and the work that I have done with him has been very specific in terms of tactical stuff," Robson said. "Just in the last few matches I think it's noticeable that instead of trying to hit a winner off a tough shot like I have done in the past, I'm trying to make a percentage shot back."

Robson said she had benefited from the experience of her defeat to Maria Sharapova at the Olympics. "In that match I definitely felt like I should have won the first set," she said. "It was extremely close, and then I just made a few silly mistakes and just didn't move my feet as much as I should have. What I have been working on since then is making sure that I do move my feet, and just continuously make one extra ball and make it a little bit harder for them."

She added: "I have always thought that I can play with the top girls. Whenever I've practised with Caroline [Wozniacki] or Maria, I've always felt that the level was there. It was just taking that on to the match court and keeping the level up for the whole match."

Winning the mixed doubles silver medal at the Olympics alongside Murray helped Robson's confidence. "There were a few matches in mixed where I had to serve out in the match tie-break, so I think that helped in terms of being able to serve it out [against Li]," Robson said. "I think I'm playing better now than I was during the Olympics."

Robson and Murray beat Stosur and Lleyton Hewitt on their way to the Olympic final, though Robson said she would not be taking that match into account in her preparations for today. "I am taking one match at a time," Robson insisted, sounding like an old pro. "Sam is an amazing player and it will be a tough match."

The talk of Twitter

Judy Murray "Never mind the silver Robbo, that was pure gold baby!"

Darren Cahill (Australian coach) to Judy Murray "Laura Robson has an Aussie passport. You'd better lock her up"

Brad Gilbert "I am very impressed with LR composure for 18, can you imagine next year at Wimby?"

Heather Watson to Robson "Unbelievable Lau!!!! Keep doing ya thang girl"

Wayne Rooney "Laura Robinson is playing brilliant good luck Laura"

Robson to Rooney "Thanks for supporting! Even if you did get my name wrong"

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
and  

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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence