Briton Laura Robson struggled in her first match since Wimbledon, with the number 32 managing a fightback 4—6, 7—5, 6—2 victory over Japan’s Ayumi Morita to move into the second round of the Southern California Open on Tuesday.
It took two hours for Robson to level the sets at one apiece on her opponent’s double—fault after the 52nd—ranked Morita had won an opening set lasting almost an hour.
Robson let it loose in the third set at the La Costa resort, sweeping to the victory after standing two points from defeat deep in the second set.
The first British woman to reach Wimbledon fourth round since 1998 is making her debut at the pre—US Open event headed by top seed Victoria Azarenka.
Robson looked to be leaving the tournament early despite forcing Morita to five set points in the first set, only winning the second on her first chance from her opponent’s costly serving error.
Robson went up a double break in the final set to set up a second—round clash with third seed and 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic after her win in two and three—quarter hours.
Robson now leads Morita 2—1 in their series after losing to the Asian in the Lisbon first round in the spring on clay.
“It was really tough today — Ayumi was playing super, super well,” said the teenaged winner. “It felt like every time I hit a good shot, she would hit a better shot. So I just had to stick with it and wait for my chance.
“After I broke her back at the end of the second set, I felt the momentum on my side again.” In other opening—round meetings, Spanish eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro started with a victory over Sachie Ishizu of 6—4, 6—3 while local Californian qualifier Coco Vandeweghe crushed American wild card Alexandra Kiick 6—1, 6—2.
Kazak Sesil Karatantcheva beat slumping German Julia Goerges, who has lost her last four matches, 6—3, 7—5. Ursula Radwanska, younger sister of second seed Agnieskza, defeated Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 7—6 (7—3), 6—4.
Daniela Hantuchova, who will play doubles with Martina Hingis as the 32—year—old Swiss makes another comeback to tennis, neeeded only 47 minutes to beat Tamira Paszek 6—0, 6—0.