Wimbledon 2013: Laura Robson targets last-eight spot - Tennis - Sport - The Independent

Wimbledon 2013: Laura Robson targets last-eight spot

 

Laura Robson will become the first British woman in almost three decades to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon today if she beats Estonia's Kaia Kanepi.

Live blog: Click here for game-by-game coverage as Laura Robson attempts to reach the quarter-finals with a victory over Kaia Kanepi followed by Andy Murray against Mikhail Youzhny

 

After seeing seven home hopes crash out on the opening day, even the most optimistic of British tennis fans would not have predicted that two Britons would be left standing by the start of the second week.

Yet Robson overcame the odds to beat 10th seed Maria Kirilenko last Tuesday and she once again defied expectations on Saturday, coming from a set and a break down against Marina Erakovic to make the last 16.

But Robson's forehand - one of her most potent weapons - deserted her for large parts of her last game.

And it was also clear that, after a week of public endorsements from the likes of Serena Williams, Virginia Wade and Pat Cash - not to mention One Direction and the Prime Minister - the pressure was getting to Robson.

The 19-year-old was racked with nerves during the early stages of her game on Court Two against Erakovic and the Australian-born star admits there is still room for improvement in her game.

"I can definitely play better than I did against Erakovic," she said.

"But it's tough to play your best tennis all the time.

"What I've been working on is just accepting that I'm not going to play great tennis in every match.

"I'm going to have to work on being consistent."

Jo Durie was the last British woman to make it through to the last eight of Wimbledon - or any grand slam - way back in 1984.

To match Durie's achievement, Robson will have to work very hard when she steps on to Court One at 1pm today.

For although Kanepi, from Estonia, is ranked 46th in the world - 12 places behind Robson - she made the quarter-finals at SW19 three years ago and is also full of confidence.

"If I play every day very well, then it's possible," the 28-year-old from Haapsalu said.

"I feel that I am close to winning a grand slam, but it depends on how I play.

"I played well to win the Brisbane International last year so it's possible.

"I think I am playing my best tennis.

"I am playing really well.

"I think my game is more stable than it was three years ago and I think I'm moving better. I'm fitter, I'm faster and I'm more aggressive. I'm not afraid to go in anymore."

Williams believes Robson has a great chance to make a major mark on the championships now.

"People would love to see Laura win this tournament," the defending champion said.

"Being home, this would be a great opportunity for her. I think it would be fun.

"So the crowd is going to be completely behind her, as would I."

Live blog: Click here for game-by-game coverage as Laura Robson attempts to reach the quarter-finals with a victory over Kaia Kanepi followed by Andy Murray against Mikhail Youzhny

PA

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