Laura Robson into WTA singles final to end 22-year wait
TEENAGER Laura Robson scaled new heights when she became Britain’s first woman to reach a WTA singles final for 22 years after beating Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in Guangzhou.
Robson, 18, won 6-4, 6-2 to set up a final today against Chinese Taipei’s Su-Wei Hsieh.
Jo Durie was the last British woman to reach a main tour final in 1990 at Newport, United States, while Sara Gomer was the last British woman to win a WTA singles title, in 1988.
Robson has been tipped for great things since winning the Wimbledon junior singles title as a 14-year-old and this year has begun delivering on her undoubted potential, climbing to 74 in the WTA world rankings. Her ranking is expected to soar again following this week’s run to the final in the China.
Robson also won a silver medal in mixed doubles with Andy Murray at the London Olympics last month and followed that with two huge scalps at the US Open where she beat former champion Kim Clijsters and the former French Open champion Li Na. The London-based 18-year-old also reached the semi-finals in Palermo in July.
Robson went three games up after breaking her opponent early on before taking the first set, with the second a formality despite some late resistance and a break by Cirstea.
The Romanian fought back from 5-1 down in the opening set to 5-4 with some big hitting but Robson was very happy with the way she handled her rival’s game. Robson said on wtatennis.com: “I’m feeling good, I played well today. 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.”
No British player has won a WTA Tour event since Gomer in Aptos in 1988, but Robson knows she has her work cut out to emulate her countrywoman.
Hsieh, ranked 21 places higher than Robson at world No 53, has an unorthodox game and won their only previous meeting in qualifying in Osaka last year. Robson said: “She plays quite differently from most of the players and I need to be ready for this. I played her once before last year in Japan and I lost and all through the match I could never tell what shot she was going to hit next.”
Meanwhile, top-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia reached the semi-finals of the St Petersburg Open, beating seventh-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4, 0-6, 6-3. Also advancing to the last four were third-seeded Martin Klizan of Slovakia, fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy and Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain.
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