It is one of the curiosities of Laura Robson's burgeoning career that her best performances have been away from Britain, reaching the third round in Australian Open and the fourth round at the US.
Today the teenager hinted that may change as she advanced to the last 32 at Wimbledon with a relatively comfortable second round victory over Mariana Duque-Marino.
Robson, currently 38 in the world, beat an opponent four years older but 79 places lower in the rankings 6-4, 6-1 in 73 minutes. Watched by her father Andrew and sister Emily, who had came over from Melbourne (mum Kathy is at the family home in Greece, looking after the Robson dogs), she overcame a nervous start to ultimately sweep Duque-Marino aside.
“I didn't think I really played my best, my timing was a bit off, but I managed to control it,” said Robson. “It is a big win for me. Any match on centre court is a big one. It was a great atmosphere out there under the roof [inclement weather meant the roof was closed]. I felt nervous at the start, but then I thought 'I have played here, she is probably even more nervous'.”
Robson will now play Marina Erakovic, of New Zealand, ranked 71 in the world and a former doubles partner of another young Briton Heather Watson..
A tentative Robson dropped her second service game, despite saving one break point with a 107mph ace, but immediately broke back. The British No.1 drove home her advantage breaking again then holding to win four games in a row and take a 5-2 lead. The set seemed hers when she forced a set point but Robson made hard work of closing it out missing that opportunity then being broken herself after twice double-faulting. At 4-5 the match was back on serve but Marino-Duque's delivery was as vulnerable as Robson's and she immediately surrendered two sets points, Robson taking the second to huge cheers from the partisan crowd.
Marino-Duque, a 23-year-old Colombian, who came through Wimbledon qualifying, mixed up her game far more than Robson but her play was very inconsistent. Robson broke her opening service game of the second set with a fine cross-court forehand, following up with another rasping cross-court drive to take a 3-0 lead. Duque-Marino, who was bidding to reach a Grand Slam third round for the first time, avoided a 'bagel' by holding her serve in the fourth game, but was by then no match for the increasingly confident Robson.