Progress for Robson on a mixed day for British players

Laura Robson - picture: Edward Thomas Photography
Laura Robson - picture: Edward Thomas Photography

Laura Robson progressed to the next qualifying round of the AEGON International Eastbourne after a rain delayed qualifying match as she defeated Yifan Xu 7-5, 7-6, (7-4) in the tie-breaker to cap off a mixed day for the British players.

Robson, 22, and the British No. 7 was supposed to play American Christina McHale, but she had to withdraw because of a sinus infection and Xu stepped in.

The opening day of the tournament saw a full card of qualifiers with the likes Anett Kontaveit and Alison Riske competing as well as four British women.

Katy Dunne lost in straight sets to American Madison Brengle, while 17-year-old Jodie Burrage also lost in 6-2, 7-5 to Chinese player Saisai Zheng. But it was Robson who headlined the first day, as she battled well against Xu to progress to the next round.

But for the 21-year-old Dunne it wasn’t to be, as Brengle’s accuracy and power was too much for Dunne for large periods of the game.

The American raced into a comfortable 5-0 lead in the first, but Dunne wasn’t going to go down without a fight, and pulled it back to 3-5 before Brengle finished off the first set.

Dunne did manage to break Brengle early in the second, but she couldn’t live with the ferocity of Brengle and the American capped off a solid display by winning the second set, and the match 6-3, 6-3.

Next up on Court One was Robson, and with the crowd fresh off a battling display from Dunne, anticipation for Robson’s clash was palatable.

Robson played well in the first set up until the stoppage, as rain swept across the Devonshire Park. Her serve was at times on-point, and then other times Robson misjudged the length; but one area of her game which was constant was her forehand, as Xu often struggled with Robson power and accuracy.

It was a tight first set, but Robson prevailed and at the start of the second set, the Brit was playing some good stuff; but when the game was at 1-2, the doctor was called, and everyone feared the worst as Robson received treatment.

But after getting her thigh strapped up Robson carried on with her game; her serving improving as it went on.

But after a tense tie-break the young Brit, who has a dreadful time with injuries finished off the job much to the delight of court one.