Stosur has Robson all in a spin
Tennis:Laura Robson will reward herself for her brilliant US Open run with a New York shopping trip on Monday, but the teenager will be drowning her sorrows after losing to defending champion Sam Stosur in the fourth round.
The 18-year-old has been the talk of Flushing Meadows after her wins over Kim Clijsters and Li Na, but found another grand slam champion a step too far.
Robson certainly had chances in the first set and then had her supporters dreaming of an astonishing comeback when she saved eight match points, but Stosur took the ninth to win 6-4 6-4 and set up a quarter-final against top seed Victoria Azarenka.
Although Robson had already far exceeded expectations, she could not help but be downcast, saying: “I’m definitely disappointed. I felt like I didn’t play as well as I did in my last three matches. I just hit too many unforced errors.
“Sam is someone who makes you feel like you’re playing bad because she hits it with so much spin, so it’s hard to get her serve back sometimes. Her serve is really special. I’ve never played anyone with a serve like hers before, so it does take you a couple of games to get used to. I just felt like I had a lot of opportunities that I didn’t take. But it’s been a good tournament for me.”
Stosur has one of the best serves in the women’s game, heavy with topspin, while her groundstrokes also rear up off the court and make the ball hard to control.
Robson rather gave the break back and then missed two chances to break again in the ninth game, which proved costly as a double fault on Stosur’s third set point handed it to her in the next game.
The second set looked like it was getting away from Robson when she trailed 5-2 and then came under enormous pressure on her serve. But she saved five match points, and then two more before breaking the Stosur serve, but the Australian kept the pressure on and in the next game Robson could hold on no longer.
A tally of 41 unforced errors compared to 24 from her opponent in the end made the difference, and Robson said: “A few times I just tried to go for it a little bit too early in the rally where I really could have just kept hitting it to her backhand just one or two times more and waited for a better opportunity.
“But it was difficult because she was going around her forehand a lot and really opening up the court with her spinny groundstrokes, so it was tough.” Robson had only ever won two grand slam matches before this tournament and her ranking is projected to rise from 89 to around 75.
But, more importantly, the 18-year-old has showed that she is ready to live up to the hype generated by her junior Wimbledon win when she was 14, and sooner rather than later.
Robson added: “I came into the tournament and I felt pretty good going into my first-round match. But I really wasn’t looking past the first round. “After Clijsters, I thought it was a great win but I needed to back it up, and that’s what I did. But today has been a little bit disappointing, so I’m going to drown my sorrows in some shopping.”