BRITISH No. 2 Laura Robson advanced past the first round of the Australian Open for the first time in her career with a hugely impressive straight-sets victory over Melanie Oudin today.
The 18-year-old, born in Melbourne, dominated from the outset with her crushing groundstrokes to go through 6-2, 6-3 in 75 minutes and will face Petra Kvitova – conqueror of Francesca Schiavone – next.
Hoping to emulate Heather Watson, who made it through to round two yesterday, Robson made the perfect start by breaking the American in the opening game.
And with Oudin struggling to make any impression, a blaze of powerful winners, mostly off the forehand side, enabled Robson to claim the first four games before her opponent finally got on the board.
Oudin, 84th in the world, was unable to stem the tide though and Robson wrapped up the opening set in 35 minutes.
Robson maintained her momentum in the second to establish a 3-2 advantage.
She squandered the lead immediately only for four awful backhands from Oudin to again put Robson in the box seat. And this time there would be no let-up as Robson held and then broke to complete a fine win.
Elsewhere today, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams both suffered scares before securing their places in the second round. Tournament favourite Williams was not troubled in the slightest by opponent Edina Gallovits-Hall, winning 6-0, 6-0, but by a right ankle injury which required lengthy treatment after a heavy fall on Hisense Arena.
Azarenka, the top seed, was given a tougher-than-expected ride by Monica Niculescu before coming through 6-1, 6-4 after a second-set wobble. Maria Kirilenko, the 14th seed, ousted Vania King and 16th seed Roberta Vinci overcame Silvia Soler-Espinosa.
Seventh seed Sara Errani, a quarter-finalist here last year, and 12th seed Nadia Petrova both went out. Errani was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro while Petrova was thrashed 6-2, 6-0 by Japanese veteran Kimiko-Date Krumm, who, at 42, became the oldest winner of a women’s singles match in the tournament’s history.