Robson surges to brink of US Open bow

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The Independent Online

Laura Robson moved within one match of earning a place in next week's US Open when she beat Russia's Vesna Manasieva in the second round of qualifying in New York yesterday.

Britain's 2008 junior Wimbledon champion followed up her opening success against Jelena Dokic with an emphatic 6-3, 6-2 victory over 21-year-old Manasieva, who at No 146 in the world is ranked 82 places higher than Robson.

In today's final round of qualifying 16-year-old Robson will play Spain's Nuria Llagostera Vives, the 30-year-old world No 126. "I'm playing well and feeling confident so hopefully I'll put in another good performance," Robson said.

Robson has appeared twice in the main draw at Wimbledon but has never made the senior competition at any other Grand Slam. She reached the third round of last year's qualifying competition at Flushing Meadows but lost a remarkable three-hour marathon to Eva Hrdinova.

Katie O'Brien was the only other Briton left in qualifying, but the world No 129 was beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 last night by Ukraine's Olga Savchuk. O'Brien, who had reached the final round of qualifying at the tournament for the first time by beating Japan's Misaki Doi, has now played Savchuk three times and lost in three sets on each occasion.

Naomi Cavaday lost her first-round qualifying match to Julia Cohen, while Jamie Baker was beaten 6-2, 6-4 in the second round by the experienced Frenchman Marc Gicquel.

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