Laura Robson ends 15-year wait at Wimbledon

Former champion Petra Kvitova digs deep to break back twice and take deciding set against Ekaterina Makarova

Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 21:09

Laura Robson could not contain her excitement after mounting an incredible comeback to become the first British woman to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon in 15 years.

As Robson said afterwards, she was getting her “butt kicked” in the first set of today’s Court Two clash against world number 71 Marina Erakovic. The 19-year-old climbed off the canvas, however, coming back from a break down in the second set to record a rousing 1-6 7-5 6-3 win on a sun-baked Court Two.

“I was getting my butt kicked basically,” Robson told the BBC afterwards. “I was really struggling to return her serve. She is playing really well and I just thought I would try as best as I can, work as hard as possible, and just stick with it until she started to get nervous, which is what happened.”

The last time that a Briton made it through to the fourth round was when Sam Smith enjoyed a memorable run to the second week in 1998.

Robson has the potential to go even further as her next opponent will be Alison Riske or Kaia Kanepi. Robson’s stock is already high after she beat 10th seed Maria Kirilenko on Tuesday.

She will now definitely enter the WTA top 30 after her performance this week. The last time that a British woman reached that high was in 1987.

“I am really excited,” Robson added. “It’s only my second time in fourth round of a slam and I am pretty happy with how i closed things out today.”

Former champion Petra Kvitova showed impressive character to avoid becoming the latest high-profile first-week casualty.

It had looked like the pattern of underachievement by top 10 seeds would continue with 2011 title winner Kvitova, only for the eighth seed to come through 6-3 2-6 6-3 against Ekaterina Makarova. Bad light and rain had halted them yesterday, and their third-round clash resumed on Court One today with world number 27 Makarova a break up at 2-1 in the decider.

It had looked like a tough job awaiting former world number two Kvitova, but it was a challenge she tackled eagerly.

Kvitova dug deep to take a topsy-turvy third set and secure a last-16 clash with Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.

In another rearranged match, American 17th seed Sloane Stephens came through against qualifier Petra Cetkovska to win 7-6 (7/3) 0-6 6-4. The American will face Monica Puig in the fourth round, after the Puerto Rican recovered from a set and a break down against Eva Birnerova to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.

It was a day for fightbacks at the All England Club and on Court Two home favourite Laura Robson recovered from what looked a hopeless position — 6-1 5-3 behind — to beat Marina Erakovic 1-6 7-5 6-3.

Elsewhere, Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat American teenager Madison Keys 7-5 4-6 6-3 to set up a fourth-round clash with Tsvetana Pironkova, who overcame Petra Martic. Italian 11th seed Roberta Vinci beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1 6-4.