Wimbledon 2013: Laura Robson faces daunting Maria Kirilenko tie


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The Independent Online

Laura Robson will have to build on her reputation as a big-game player if her Wimbledon journey is to stretch beyond the first round next week.

The British No 1, who has beaten three Grand Slam champions in Grand Slam events over the past year, was handed a major challenge yesterday when she was drawn to play Maria Kirilenko, the world No 10, in her opening match.

Kirilenko is one of the most consistent performers on the tour, with six titles to her name, though Robson should draw confidence from the fact that the 26-year-old Russian almost went out to Elena Baltacha at this week’s Aegon International before winning in three sets.

Robson, who has climbed 60 places to world No 37 since last year’s Championships, has won only one of her five senior matches at the All England Club but has had some tough draws and has always played well. Johanna Konta faces an equally challenging test against Jelena Jankovic, a former world No 1, but the other British women have avoided seeds.

Heather Watson meets the 18-year-old American Madison Keys. Baltacha has a winnable match against the 31-year-old Italian Flavia Pennetta, who reached the world’s top 10 four years ago but is now languishing at No 158. Anne Keothavong, Tara Moore and Samantha Murray will play Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi and Italy’s Camila Giorgi respectively.

The five-times champion Serena Williams is the overwhelming favourite. The American, currently on a 31-match winning run, is on course for a semi-final with Agnieszka Radwanska. Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, No 2 and No 3 in the world respectively, are seeded to meet in the other semi-final.