London 2012

Robson, Watson progress

British duo up and running at SW19

Last Updated: 30/07/12 8:17pm

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Great Britain youngsters Laura Robson and Heather Watson claimed impressive straight-sets victories to reach the second round of the women's singles at the London Olympics.

Robson, who was only given a place in the draw on Friday following the withdrawal of Croatia's Petra Martic, made the most of her opportunity with an impressive 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 victory over Lucie Safarova from the Czech Republic.

And Guernsey's Watson, also handed a late entry into the tournament, progressed in straight sets, easing past Spain's Silvia Soler Espinosa 6-2 6-2.

Despite being ranked some 70 places lower than Czech opponent Safarova, Robson, roared on by vociferous home support, looked more at home on Court 18 and raced into an early 5-1 lead.


But, after opening up a 30-0 lead when serving for the opening set, Robson lost her way, losing 10 consecutive points as Safarova battled back to eventually force a tie-break.

The British left-hander regrouped, though, and came through the breaker 7-4 to draw first blood.

The second set was a cagey affair as both women held serve with more authority, however Robson seized her moment in the ninth game with a timely break.

Serving out the match was never going to be straightforward, however Robson staved off a break point before sealing a win that sets up a second-round showdown with reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova.

"It was one of my best wins, absolutely," said Robson. "She is very tough to play, and she hits the ball really fast so you never get a lot of time.

"I just fought as well as I could and stuck with her."

On facing Sharapova next, she added: "She's playing some of the best tennis of her life so it's going to be tough, but I've got nothing to lose so I will fight as hard as I can."

Watson will also face Russian opposition in round two after her rapid victory over Soler Espinosa secured a meeting with 14th seed Maria Kirilenko.

"I expected myself to win the match," said Watson. "I've been playing very well. After having a great Wimbledon, I wanted to continue that. I still have the confidence from that."

Baltacha out

Elena Baltacha failed to make it three British wins despite battling hard in her 6-4 7-6 (7/5) defeat to former world number one Ana Ivanovic.

Baltacha left court in tears in what may be her last singles appearance at Wimbledon as she is due to undergo ankle surgery after the Olympics.

"I need to have the surgery. I can't carry on with the foot the way it is," she said.

"If I feel that I am enjoying life at home and I don't really want to get on another plane then I will retire, but the way my mind is at the moment I would like to come back. If that changes then I won't."

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