Robson wins first battle of Brits

Watson outgunned by 17-year-old friend but says rivalry is great for women's game

They are firm friends but British tennis will be hoping they also become big rivals. Laura Robson and Heather Watson, who both won junior Grand Slam titles, met on the court for the first time yesterday in what could become a long-running battle for supremacy between the British teenagers. Robson, the 2008 Wimbledon junior champion, beat Watson, the 2009 US Open junior champion, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Aegon GB Pro-Series tournament in Barnstaple.

Watson, who as world No 87 is the higher ranked of the two Britons, made a slow start and appeared to be heading for a straight-sets defeat as Robson, the world No 135, took a 2-0 lead in the second set. However, the 19-year-old from Guernsey fought back to level the match before the 17-year-old Robson took command of the decider, breaking serve to lead 4-2.

"Heather and I are really good friends but I know how much winning that match meant to both of us," Robson said afterwards. "I started really well today and that really helped me, but I always knew Heather would come back and that she would get a lot of balls back. I was prepared to have to run around a lot. She started playing a lot better in the second set so in the third I just kept going for everything and believing in my shots."

Watson said: "There was a lot of hype around our match and both Laura and I were very motivated to win today. We've never played before so that was another challenge. I thought I started really badly. I was so slow and was 6-1, 2-0 down. Then I finally had a good service game and started moving a bit better. In the third I was a bit more tentative and didn't go for my shots. I just wasn't on form at all. Laura was better than me today and that's how it goes.

"I think it's great having a rivalry with Laura. We're both so competitive and just keep pushing each other along, which is working really well for us. I'm certainly looking forward to playing her again and hopefully getting my revenge."

Robson, who was a set down against Johanna Konta in the first round when her opponent retired hurt, now faces Russia's Ekaterina Bychkova, who beat another promising Briton, Naomi Broady. Anne Keothavong, the British No 3, faces Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele after beating the American Jill Craybas 6-2, 6-0.

The friendship of Robson and Watson is evident in the fact that they are playing doubles together this week. A left-hander and right-hander respectively, they have the potential to be a good team. Robson has a big serve and booming ground strokes but does not move around the court with the same ease as Watson, who lacks Robson's killer weapons. Both have made excellent progress this year, Watson climbing the rankings from No 176 and Robson is now the youngest player in the top 200.

  • 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