• Australian Open, Day Four

Robson dumps out Kvitova in comedy of errors

ESPN staff
January 17, 2013 « Federer primed for Tomic test | Chartbeat test »

Laura Robson continued her grand slam giant-killing antics as she claimed the scalp of former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to reach the Australian Open third round.

Robson, who stunned former major champions Kim Clijsters and Li Na in last year's US Open, battled from a set down to claim a gritty 2-6 6-3 11-9 victory lasting three hours.

In an error-strewn match featuring 14 breaks of serve, 51 unforced errors - including 18 double faults - from Kvitova gifted Robson a third-round clash with American Sloane Stephens.

Robson, who saw fellow Brit Heather Watson battle back from the brink of defeat to beat Ksenia Pervak on Wednesday, twice came from a break down in a topsy-turvy final set to join her compatriot in the last 32.

The British No. 2 struggled to settle into her rhythm, dishing up two double faults in her opening game as she was broken to love. Although she broke straight back before back-to-back aces gave her a 2-1 lead, she failed to win another game in the first set as Kvitova threatened to run away with the match.

However, the story of the set was reflected in the statistics - while Kvitova was ruthlessly efficient in converting three of her four break points, Robson succeeded just once in seven attempts.

She saw six break points pass her by as Kvitova made three straight double faults while serving for the set, and although she failed to keep the set alive, she had reason to be optimistic as she continued to put the world No. 8 under pressure.

A double fault on game point nearly proved costly early in the second set, but having dug herself out of a hole to lead 2-1, the Brit was beginning to find her range.

A probing return, straight at her opponent's feet saw her break for a 3-1 lead before consolidating her advantage - albeit with the help of a lucky net cord. A sweetly struck forehand return handed her the chance of a double break, and in stark contrast to the opening set, she converted it to take a commanding 5-1 lead.

Although she was pegged back as she served for the set, two big serves saw her over the line at the second attempt.

First blood in the decider went to the Czech as she broke Robson for a fifth time, but back-to-back double faults - a recurring theme in the match - handed the world No. 53 a route back into the match. But she failed to level the scores when she dropped her serve again, dumping a forehand into the net as Kvitova restored her advantage.

A fourth successive break of serve saw Kvitova broken to love as Robson clawed her way back to level at 4-4. The momentum shifted violently one way, then the other as Robson served to stay in the match, only to serve for the match two games later.

Serving first each time, Kvitova had the slight advantage as she twice forced Robson to serve to stay in the set, but was ultimately left to rue a worryingly high error count as Robson broke in the 19th game, before coolly serving out the victory after exactly three hours on court.

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