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Thu Apr 24 23:38:20 SAST 2014

Robson becomes first British WTA finalist since 1990

Sapa-AFP | 22 September, 2012 09:530 Comments
Laura Robson of Britain
Image by: Jessica Rinaldi / REUTERS

Laura Robson became the first British woman since 1990 to reach a main tour singles final on Friday when she defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-2 in the WTA Guangzhou Open.

The 18-year-old world No.74 convincingly beat her Romanian opponent in a one-and-a-half hour semi-final in the southern Chinese city.

  The Londoner had beaten second seed Zheng Jie of China 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarter finals, before defeating Zheng’s compatriot, seventh seed Peng Shuai 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in three-and-a-half-hours on Thursday.

  Robson started brightly in the semi-final, breaking Cirstea’s serve at the first attempt before racing to a 5-1 lead within 25 minutes.

  The world No. 30 then broke Robson’s serve twice before Robson broke back at the final game to win the opening set 6-4.

  The No.1 ranked British player also unsettled third seed Cirstea early in the second set, breaking her first serve before being held to a lengthy tie-break at 4-1.

  Robson went ahead at 5-1, but Cirstea broke back, before Robson wrapped it up in style by breaking serve again and taking all the points in the final game.

  The WTA’s youngest Top 100 player, who will face Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan in the final on Saturday, will be relieved to have finished the match two hours quicker than her quarter-final epic.

  “I’m feeling good, I played well today,” said Robson, who is bidding to become the first British woman since Sara Gomer at Aptos in 1988 to win a tour title.

  “Sorana is a really tough player to play because she plays so aggressive and hits so many winners.

  “I kept trying to take the ball early to take the time away from her and give me more of a chance in the rallies.”  Reaching the final in Guangzhou is another landmark in a superb season which has seen Robson winning Olympic silver in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray and reaching the US Open last 16.

  The teenager is the first British woman to contest a WTA tour singles final since Jo Durie at the Virginia Slims of Newport tournament in the US in 1990.

  Robson became British No.1 earlier this week after she defeated Kim Clijsters and Li Na during her impressive US Open run.

  She is also the first British woman to reach a WTA tour singles semi-final since Anne Keothavong at the Luxembourg Open in October 2011.

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