Robson stuns Clijsters with 'breakthrough' win at US Open
Biggest win of the teenage Briton's career sends Belgian champion into retirement
BRITISH teenage tennis hope Laura Robson notched up the biggest victory of her career at the US Open as she stunned former world number one Kim Clijsters in the second round.
The 18-year-old overcame the Belgian 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) and her triumph has been hailed as a major breakthrough. It also signalled the end of Clijsters' singles career.
The three-time US Open champion, who came out of retirement in 2009, had said that this would be her last tournament and it came to an end after a match that lasted just over two hours. It was the 29-year-old's first defeat at Flushing Meadow since the 2003 final, when she was beaten by Justine Henin.
"As Kim Clijsters disappeared down the tunnel at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, her great singles career at its end, the blossoming of Laura Robson into a genuine champion-in-waiting was played out to a stunned crowd of New Yorkers and the disbelief of those watching at home. Robson has arrived," reported The Times.
She had been faced with one of the "finest hard-court players of her generation" said the Daily Mail, but prevailed thanks to "an irresistible combination of heavy groundstrokes and serving of power and precision".
According to The Guardian it was a match "that could prove pivotal in her young career". But it was not unexpected. "A performance like this had been coming from Robson and it was fabulous to watch," said the BBC. "This, at the age of 18, was a top 10 performance," it added.
Robson, who won silver in the mixed doubles at the Olympics earlier this month, was just nine years old when Clijsters last lost in New York, noted The Daily Telegraph. "If the match was a full-stop for Clijsters, it surely represented a coming of age for Robson," it said. "These are genuinely exciting times for British tennis, the most exciting in recent memory."
In the men's draw, third seed Andy Murray outlined why hopes are so high as he dismissed his second round opponent Ivan Dodig in straight sets with what the Guardian described as "a display of near-flawless tennis".
And British tennis's latest recruit, Johanna Konta, who was born in Australia to Hungarian parents and took British citizenship in May, plays her second-round match against Belarusian Olga Govortsova today.