WTA Italian Open: Laura Robson to meet world No 1 Serena Williams
Last Updated: 14/05/13 11:19pm
Laura Robson: Produced an excellent performance in Rome
Laura Robson set up a meeting against world No 1 Serena Williams after dispatching her sister Venus in the opening round of the WTA Italian Open, 6-3 6-2.
The 19-year-old won four straight games in the opening set before coming out on top in the blustery conditions which caused clay dust to swirl around the tree-lined Foro Italico court.
She eased through the second in double-quick time, although she was helped by the inability of her opponent to take any of her break points - winning just two out of 12.
Thirty-two-year-old Williams - a seven-time Grand Slam winner - looked to be plainly struggling with the back injury that has blighted her season so far.
In a battle of the oldest player in the tournament against the youngest, the American struggled to cope with Robson's attacking and aggressive style and the British No 1 came through in one hour and 25 minutes.
Robson went 40-0 up and then two break-points down on her opening service game of the match before eventually holding and then quickly jumping on the second serve of Williams to take a 2-1 lead.
World No 39 Robson, who upset Agnieszka Radwanksa at the Madid Open last week, soon moved a double break ahead as she continually punished the Williams second serve.
Robson recovered from 0-40 down on her next service game by throwing in some heavy left-handed serves out wide, although she had to save six break-points to hold for 5-1 before wobbling when serving for the match.
Williams, playing only her second clay-court event of the season, pulled her way back into the contest at 5-3, but Robson immediately responded with her third break to take the opener.
The second set was more convincing as Robson, who parted company with her coach of just 10 months, Zeljko Krajan last week, continued to dominate converting her fourth break-point of the match to move 3-1 up before consolidating her serve.
She broke the rusty Williams serve once more for the double-break with more aggressive tennis, but failed to serve out the match as the 1999 Rome winner now ranked 24th, clawed one of the breaks back.
However, it wasn't long before Robson wrapped up the win, taking advantage of her third match point chance on the Williams serve with a big backhand to wrap up an excellent win.
Venus' sister Serena was watching from the stands and admits she is impressed by the young Brit.
"She has a great game. She's really young, still. She's just so free and she looks great on the court and she's so smooth and she's a lefty, so that just adds a notch to her whole level," she said.
"I've never played her before. I've always wanted to. So I have a tough second-round match."