British Sensation Laura Robson Reaches First WTA Final In China
by Staff | September 21st, 2012, 3:17 pm
  • 24 Comments

Riding the wave of Andy Murray’s recent success, British teen Laura Robson is making her own headlines on the WTA. The 18-year-old Robson today defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals of the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women’s Open.

By reaching Gaungzhou title match, Robson becomes the British woman to play in a WTA final since Jo Durie did so at the 1990 Newport event. Tomorrow, the lefty will face Su-Wei Hsieh in effort to become the first British women to win a title since Sara Gomer triumphed in Aptos back in 1988.

“I’m feeling good, I played well today,” Robson said. “Sorana is a really tough player to play because she plays so aggressive and hits so many winners.

“I kept trying to take the ball early to take the time away from her and give me more of a chance in the rallies.”

This week Robson has beaten two of China’s best in Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai in addition to Cirstea.

Earlier this month Robson stunned former Grand Slam champions Li Na and Kim Clijsters en route to the fourth round at the US Open. This summer she also reached the semifinals in Palermo.

Robson began the year ranked No. 134 but will climb to at least No. 70. She partnered with Murray to win the silver medal in the mixed competition at the London Olympics.

Hsieh ousted Urszula Radwanska 6-1, 3-6, 6-0.

“She plays quite differently from most of the players and I need to be ready for this,” Robson said. “I played her once before last year in Japan and I lost and all through the match I could never tell what shot she was going to hit next.”

Hsieh won her maiden WTA title earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur.


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24 Comments for British Sensation Laura Robson Reaches First WTA Final In China

alison Says:

Congrats Laura Robson on reaching your 1st WTA final,this young girl is deffinetly destined for big things,hopefully she will now grab the title,go Laura us Brits are so proud of you,and we are all behind you.


Brando Says:

Laura’s progressing along very nicely. Like Alison said, Brits are proud of her. Dare I say even aussies are also proud of her- after all it’s all about the commonwealth right? :-)


RZ Says:

Go Laura go!!!

I’m sure her ranking will climb to much higher than 70. She’s currently 74 so her run to the final should catapult her higher than 4 places.


RZ Says:

Apparently Laura will be in the top 60 if she wins tomorrow, top 65 if she doesn’t.


grendel Says:

Brando – Laura was born in Melbourne, lucky the Aussies didn’t grab her – ho-ho, they missed a trick there, eh?

RZ – I’d heard if she wins tomorrow she’ll climb to 54, but we’ll soon see. We shouldn’t assume she’ll win, at some point, she’s going to experience a letdown. Hope it’s not tomorrow.

She’s going to be on Eurosport next week, at Tokyo, assuming she doesn’t pull out through exhaustion or something.


Kimmi Says:

watched the match today. Laura was 5-1 up serving for first set and then drama. cirstea came back to 5-4. Laura was maybe a little nervous closing out the first set, few double faults and lots of errors. cirstea played good points too. At 5-4 she broke cirstea to win the first set.

what is amazing about her is, she has bounced back after a letdown. few times in her matches, she lost a very close second set after winning first set (example her match against Li Na at USO and shuai peng yesterday), but she still come back to win the third. I have seen a lot of players after losing a very close second set, they end up losing the deciding set badly.


RZ Says:

Grendel, I agree that at some point a letdown will come. I just hope that if she does lose tomorrow, she goes down fighting.

Kimmi, I think the key difference in her matches in the last month and before then is her new ability to close them out (if not at the first attempt, at the 2nd or 3rd chance). A lot of her losses in key matches (e.g., final qualifying match for French Open, 1st round at Wimbledon against Schiavone) had to do with her inability to close them out. Even the Olympics mixed doubles final loss was partly due to her nerves in that super-tiebreak. She’s turned that around and can keep her nerve when she gets a lead.


Brando Says:

@Grendel:

Lol, they sure did just like South Africa did in cricket- letting Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen (brilliant when he isn’t sending text messages)go onto play for England and help them become the no.1 in cricket.

I bet it must put a bitter taste in the mouth for such nations when a home grown player of their own goes onto represent another country- which crucially they now see and identify as their home country- and go on to having much success- surely it must grate them?

I think it does- and i rather like the idea of aussie’s looking on with envy at the continued success that Laura bring’s for Britain, thinking that it could have been them instead! Lol!


Margot Says:

Splendid for Laura.
Apparently she has been working with Jez Green which has really helped her movement and fitness.
Judy Murray said earlier in the year she was convinced Laura was on the point of a breakthrough.
Good shout Judy!


grendel Says:

Brando – well, of course Australia have done the same thing. Remember they took on Wessels from South Africa – that was quite a long time ago. The Robson thing is nowhere near so gross, though. Her parents are Australian (though she has no trace of Australian twang in that slightly girly, high pitched voice), and the family left Australia when Laura was still a baby, and came to England when she was 6. So I think it’s reasonable for England to claim her…..

b.t.w. according to Rusedski, it was at the age of 6 that Olga Morozova, the Russian tennis supremo (who coached Dementieva) spotted her, when she was for a while helping out with British Womens’ tennis, and she instantly saw a future star. And someone else said, it might have been the horrific one (Andr..Ca..it’s less painful if I don’t spell out the entire name)that he heard the thwack of ball on racket without seeing who was doing it, and the sound was so satisfying that he at once knew….personally, I watched Laura win Junior Wimbledon at the age of 14, and I didn’t have the slightest doubt but that here at last was a winner. Didn’t matter how relatively sluggish she was, how inconsistent (you can forgive all that at 14), she had strokes to die for, and those can never be learnt. Honed, yes. Learnt from scratch, no.Nurture via Nature, as they say. Her fh and serve in particular send yours truly into a delicate state of swoonery…

Margot – Judy Murray actually gave Laura a good chance against Clijsters, not just a chance, when no one else did so far as I know. Interesting that Jez Green has been working with her. Her movement is so improved, and that’s an ongoing project, too. I bet noone mentions her movement in a couple of years, except perhaps to commend it.

Kimmi – yes, I agree, Laura has kept getting herself into difficulties, and battling back out of them. Her mind is as promising as is her game….


Colin Says:

Brando, you are being illogical. Laura was never a “home-grown” Australian tennis player, because she left Melbourne at age eighteen months, and probably has no memory of the place. She then lived in Singapore until age six when the family moved to England. The moves were presumably dictated by her father’s oil industry job.
Given that scenario, Aussies cannot think “it could have been them instead.”
As I have frequently told Aussies, my daughter-in-law was born in Liverpool and moved to Oz when she was about 2 1/2. She considers herself Australian, she sounds Australian, and heck, she even LOOKS Australian! If anyone told her she’s a Pom, they’d get a clip round the ear.
Anyway, even though they don’t like him personally, Aussies seem to have no problem with their current best young male player, Bernard Tomic, being German-born of Slav parents. What counts with sports players is where they developed their skills.


grendel Says:

Colin says:” What counts with sports players is where they developed their skills.” I agree with that (though be careful – we don’t want the Spanish claiming Murray, do we…) which is what makes Rusedski’s attempts to pass himself off as English so laughable. You sense the poor chap knows that in a way, he tries so hard to ingratiate, even now.

It must be tricky being Rusedski. He obviously isn’t English, but I imagine the Canadians no longer want him following his gross act of opportunism. D’you remember him coming onto centre court in England at Wimbledon, wrapped in a huge Union Jack, teeth flashing, and a bemused English public looking on, wondering who was this strange creature and why was he bundled up in a flag? His opponent – Pete Sampras as it happened – took no notice, and afer he had taken him apart on the court, was asked what he thought about it all. Sampras didn’t seem to quite know what to say or even what he was being asked, but after a couple of non-committal comments, added:”I wiped that smile off his face, anyway”.


grendel Says:

“Given that scenario, Aussies cannot think “it could have been them instead.”” Strictly speaking, that isn’t true. If Robson had shown any inclination to play under Australian colours, of course they would have grabbed her. There may even have been feelers made towards her, I don’t know. But of course, Laura is English, and that’s final. It tickled me a bit, though, that we have a star of Australian heritage. That’s because I used to live in Australia, and I grew sick and tired of them beating us at everything. Things have changed since then, of course, but my image of Australia was formed a long time ago, and these things tend to stick….


Polo Says:

If you trace Robson lineage, she may well turn out to be British based on Great Britain and Australia’s history.


Kimmi Says:

too bad she lost, she was 3-0 up in the decider, oh well next time.

Great tournament for her this week. hopefully she can build it from here.


grendel Says:

So the dream comes to an end, Hsieh wins 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. But the good news is: Laura said the other day that she’d played Hsieh last year and that she was all at sea against her,never having the remotest idea what the Taiwanese was going to do with the ball. Not seen Hsieh, but sounds like she is not at all like the hard hitting players Robson has been competing with successfully since New York.

But this scoreline tells you the match was tight. Clearly Laura has learnt a lot, and will learn even more from this match,on how to combat unorthodox players.

Losing is really an absolute must on the learning curve. The trick is a) to keep the ratio of losing to winning as low as possible and b)when you lose, lose on an important occasion so that confidence isn’t too badly impaired and meanwhile education continues.

Also, now that Laura has lost, she can start again in Tokyo. If she’d won, I don’t know, a sort of insidious pressure grows, I’d imagine…


grendel Says:

Only just noticed this:”Robson won 6-4 6-2 to set up a final against Chinese Taipei’s Su-Wei Hsieh”. That was from Reuters. “Chinese Taipei” is The Peoples’ Republic of China’s name for Taiwan. And the Western press colludes with this. Fairly disgraceful, eh?

When I was in America recently, I got talking to a Chinese woman (from China), and I happened to mention that my elder son had just gone to Taiwan for a year, basically to improve his spoken Chinese, still rudimentary despite having just got a degree in Chinese. The Chinese woman – a nice enough woman who knew a lot about tea – suddenly looked hostile and asked why he hadn’t gone to China. Not wishing to get into an argument at this point, I forebore to mention that he’d been to China for a year, and actually felt he could do better (on the language front – for they speak Mandarin in Taiwan as well)in Taiwan. After all, she might have taken back those samples of Chinese tea she had just given me. So I said lamely that he had friends in Taiwan, also he’d got a scholarship there and he didn’t have much money..

The Chinese lady suddenly changed tack. “Well,” she said, “it is good that he is going to China’s biggest island”. I nodded weakly, feeling a traitor. Although, there was something funny about it, too. Of course, other peoples’ chauvinism always sound absurd, whilst one’s own is eminently reasonable.

But there is a serious point here. Taiwan is a free country. But China, ruled by elderly and corrupt totalitarians, is steadily and whisper by whisper, spreading its tentacles over the island. And one of their weapons is language.

Thus Taiwan, in this infamous newspeak, is Chinese Taipei. No, it’s not. It’s Taiwan.


skeezer Says:

Laura is fun to watch. Hope she continues to improve, ladies tennis could use a player like her around.


grendel Says:

Well, after all, Laura won’t be playing in Tokyo next week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/19687453). But she will be playing in Beijing the following week, provided she gets through the qualies. Heather Watson has qualified to play in Tokyo.


Brando Says:

@Colin:

‘What counts with sports players is where they developed their skills.’

I agree with you completely on this point Colin. The point i was making, well actually it wasn’t much of a point. In all honesty, I was just entertaining the idea of Aussie’s looking enviously at the Brits with regards to Laura and the possible success she may bring to the nation- just as Andy did so spectacularly over the last couple of months.


Brando Says:

@Grendel:

-’Her fh and serve in particular send yours truly into a delicate state of swoonery…’ Me too, especially the FH- it is quite a treat when it is on song. When her serve clicks also- as it is doing so more often than not recently- it is quite clear that Laura will go very far (fingers crossed) in the game.

-’ it might have been the horrific one (Andr..Ca..it’s less painful if I don’t spell out the entire name)’: I am so glad you seem to dislike him- as i just cannot stand him at all when he is commentating. He almost ruins watching Wimbledon on the BBC. So often does he talk about the celebrity in the crowd, how so and so players box has their girlfriend/ wife, massause, dog walker etc in their box- it gets damn annoying when he does so. And when he mentions something about the match it always is the extremely obvious which even the novice tennis fan can spot! I am flabbergasted that he actually played the game. He rarely, if ever, makes an insightful comment about the match on hand.

Much prefer someone like Mats Wilander, or even John Mcenroe- both can make intelligent, insightful observations about the game, and if they do not do so, at the very least they create an enthusiasm for the match on hand. They’re passionate about the game, and it shows in their commentating. Whereas Mr AC- is just interested in celebrity aspect of the game!


grendel Says:

Brando – soul brother! I have sometimes wondered whether my aversion to Castle is some peculiar idiosyncrasy of my own, or at least of my family (earlier this year, my son came charging upstairs: “what’s that greasepot doing on Sky?” he demanded, as if it was all my fault).

Yes, I used to feel quite smug that Castle was confined to BBC, which rarely broadcasts tennis outside of Wimbledon. But the man has broken out, and nowhere is safe. Where will he infest next?

Now, even if Castle says something quite neutral, like “this is the order of play tomorrow”, I shudder with revulsion, not merely looking for some hidden meaning, for it is impossible to imagine Castle saying anything without some ulterior motive, but the very timbre of his voice reaches that part of my soul which is not unsympathetic to a spot of homicide.

About Laura’s serve. It’s getting better, as you say, but judgeing by the number of times she has been broken this week, you have to assume it’s still very much a work in progress.

This report of today’s match might be of interest: “Hsieh controlled the overall flow of the first half of the match, using her very unorthodox style – two hands off both sides, mixing spins and slices, offense and defense – to outfox Robson and build a 63 53 lead. And she even had five match points in that game, but Robson stayed calm and fought them all off.

“Robson would end up reeling off seven games in a row to go from 63 53 down to 3-0 up in the third set; but Hsieh regrouped, winning five games in a row (and six of the next seven) en route to a dramatic 63 57 64 championship victory.

“Laura’s a great player and has been improving a lot this year, but I don’t think she felt comfortable with my game,” Hsieh said. “Some people say I don’t often hit the ball with a lot of power, that I used the opponent’s power against them and put the ball in unexpected places. I don’t have big muscles so I have to work hard and do that and try to make my opponent run as much as possible.”

I think Hsieh sounds pretty interesting, don’t you? I’ve never seen her play, I certainly would like to. I wonder if she has a touch of Hingis about her.


RZ Says:

Good luck to Heather in Tokyo. Hopefully Laura’s recent success will inspire her, and the two of them can push each other to the top of the game.


Margot Says:

RZ, I really like Heather’s playing style. She’s great to watch, such a good mover, so quivk round the court and never gives up. Unfortunately, unlike Laura, at the moment she lacks a “killer” shot. Hope she can rectify that.

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