Is Laura Robson ‘getting there’?

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May 9, 2013 by Parveer Mann

As a tennis blogger, you are inundated with matches and potential stories during an ATP Masters or WTA Premier Event week. Already in Madrid, we have had Roger Federer’s return, Grigor Dimitrov’s breakthrough win and Victoria Azarenka losing both her match and temper.

So, my interest was piqued when I read a tweet by Laura Robson that she posted after losing in the third round to Ana Ivanovic.

Getting there. – Laura Robson, Twitter

The statement alone is simple enough, a young player expressing quiet optimism after a week where she beat a Top 5 player but then lost a match that she could have easily won. However, I’ll use this tweet to see if there is empirical proof that Robson in 2013 is indeed on the verge of that next breakthrough.

Up early, lose late

Laura Robson greets Ana Ivanovic after losing in the 3rd round at the Mutua Madrid Open. (Image available on zimbio.com)

Laura Robson greets Ana Ivanovic after losing in the 3rd round at the Mutua Madrid Open. (Image available on zimbio.com)

Of her 11 losses this year, Robson has won the first set in four of them before eventually losing. Partly, it is just a consequence of a season where she is only 7-11 but that is still a high proportion of losses coming after winning the first set. In 2012, only two of her 20 losses on the ITF and WTA circuit came after winning the first set.

I understand that many opposing players and coaches can make adjustments after dropping a set but some of the fault must lie in Robson’s game. It either is a combination of fatigue, errors or a lack of mental strength that has led to so many losses after winning the first set. Case in point, her 3rd round match with Ivanovic saw her play well early before falling in a third set tiebreak. I think she knows (her mood and tweet alone suggest) that she has to work on finishing these matches if she plans to take that next step.

Still only 19

One thing is clear despite the mediocre start to the 2013 season, Robson has significant upside. Already this year, she has defeated Top 10 players in Aga Radwanska (this week in Madrid) and Petra Kvitova (in Melbourne).

The Kvitova win is especially interesting because it is a player who Robson can emulate as a lefty with powerful groundstrokes. Remember, Kvitova was 21 when she won Wimbledon in 2011 so Robson still has some time before she gets to where she wants to be.

What does everyone think, is Laura Robson still on the right track?

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