Wimbledon 2013: Laura Robson is a 'serve away from the real deal,' says Lindsay Davenport


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The Independent Online

Laura Robson has a long way to go before she can be compared with Lindsay Davenport, but the former world No 1 is excited by the 19-year-old's potential. Davenport, who won three Grand Slams, sees similarities between her own game and Robson's. Like the Briton, Davenport relied on her big serve and groundstrokes rather than her athleticism.

"I wasn't fast, but I hit the ball well," Davenport said. "The serve was always important to me. I felt that if I served well and I was getting free points, that allowed me to free up and play better. I think that she is going to become a better athlete and I think it's just a matter of time before that happens."

After her win over Maria Kirilenko, the world No 10, in the first round here on Tuesday, Robson has an excellent chance of making major inroads into the competition. In the second round she faces Colombia's Mariana Duque Marino (world No 117), with the winner to play China's Shuai Peng (world No 26) or New Zealand's Marina Erakovic (world No 77). Angelique Kerber (world No 7) is a potential fourth-round opponent. If Robson made the quarter-finals she would probably meet Serena Williams.

Robson has a big game that can trouble the very best. She beat Kim Clijsters and Li Na at last year's US Open, knocked Petra Kvitova out of the Australian Open in January and beat Venus Williams in Rome last month.

"She's a great ball striker," Davenport said. "She has a lot of power. She needs to get that serve better. She's got the ability to have a left-handed serve as a weapon. That's the area I would work on, and then the movement."

Davenport has been impressed by the improvements Robson has made during a year in which she has climbed 60 places to No 37 in the world rankings. "I think it's really important for these players who are in their late teen years," Davenport said. "These are the years when you have to improve – and these are the years where you should be able to improve.

"So Laura's definitely going in the right direction. She's going to be the real deal if she can continue this year or two to get these wins, beat the players she's supposed to beat and then start to challenge the ones ahead of her."

Robson was back on court playing doubles with the 39-year-old American Lisa Raymond. Robson and Raymond beat the experienced Italian-Australian pair of Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur 6-3, 6-1. They next play the No 7 seeds, Germany's Anna-Lena Grönefeld and the Czech Republic's Kveta Peschke.