US Open 2013: Laura Robson defeated by Li Na in straight sets
British number one unable to repeat memorable victory
Friday 30 August 2013
Laura Robson was unable to repeat last year's stunning US Open victory over Li Na as she went out in the third round in New York.
Twelve months ago the British teenager announced her arrival on the world stage with back-to-back wins over Kim Clijsters and Li to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time.
But sixth seed Li was in very good form today and, although Robson upped her level in second set, it was not enough as the Chinese player won 6-2 7-5.
The pair opened the schedule on Arthur Ashe, which meant they began the match in front of virtually empty stands.
Robson enjoys the big stage but she began poorly, dropping serve in the opening game, and was thoroughly outplayed in the first set.
The 19-year-old was spraying her forehand to all parts and could make no impression with her serve.
She battled hard to hold on to her serve to trail only 1-2 but Li broke again to take a stranglehold on the set.
The 31-year-old, who was eager to take revenge for last year, is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball on tour and she was drilling her returns back at Robson's feet.
The 30th seed is very popular here after her run last year and the few fans there were in the stands tried to spur her on as she held serve to make it 2-5.
Li had no trouble clinching the set but Robson began the second set playing much better and raced into a 3-0 lead - with a little help from her opponent, who hit two double faults in one game.
Robson had 0-30 in the next game but Li generally served very well, hitting 11 aces in the match, and she did not give her opponent much chance to sniff a double break.
That proved a crucial hold as Robson dropped serve again in the next game, saving two break points but not a third.
The British number one was playing much better than in the first set but was still below her best - a tally of 30 unforced errors and seven winners will make painful reading.
Much of that was to do with Li, who is a superb mover and was able to cope with the power of Robson.
The teenager matched Li well until the 11th game, when another return arrowed back at Robson's feet forced the error and gave Li the chance to serve for the match.
Robson threw everything at her opponent but it was to no avail, Li clinching victory on her second match point with a second-serve ace.
Robson's ranking will drop a little from her current position of 32 but it has nevertheless been a promising week for the teenager, especially considering she is still affected by a wrist injury that meant she came into the tournament having played only two matches since Wimbledon.
Andy Murray tells how coach Amélie Mauresmo revealed her pregnancy
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: The biggest fight of all time, or maybe just the most lucrative?
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao start?
Everton 3 Manchester United 0 player ratings: Who scored lower - Marouane Fellaini or Radamel Falcao?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove