Jan 17 2013
Laura Robson stunned eighth seed Petra Kvitova in an epic second-round encounter at the Australian Open on Thursday.
The British number two joined Heather Watson in the last 32 after edging a topsy-turvy encounter in which both players struggled to find their best form until the latter stages.
Eventually it was Robson who prevailed 2-6 6-3 11-9 to move through to a meeting with another rising star, American Sloane Stephens.
Both players were struggling on serve in the first set and Robson had to stave off a break point, before serving two aces to claim a 2-1 lead. But from there it fell apart for the 18-year-old as she started to spray her groundstrokes around Rod Laver Arena and Kvitova claimed the opener.
Having been marginally the more consistent player in the first, Kvitova promptly fell apart in the second. Robson surged into a 5-1 lead and after a wobble which saw the world number eight halve the deficit, the Briton levelled the match.
The momentum was firmly with the Czech in the third set and a love service game saw her jump out to a 3-0 lead.
Robson held and then got the break back as, from nowhere, Kvitova threw in three double faults in an awful game to lose the advantage.
The standard was finally improving as the match reached its crucial stages, both players holding before Robson profited from yet another Kvitova mental meltdown to break for a 6-5 lead. She could not serve it out, however, being broken to 15 as nerves got to the younger woman.
Two holds followed before a disputed line call at 7-7, 30-30, unsettled Kvitova but, to her credit, she came through to again pile the pressure on Robson.
She held firm as the match, remarkably, then went into a spell of being dominated by serve until Robson broke for a 10-9 lead. And this time Kvitova had no reply as Robson served it out to go through in three hours.