Laura Robson looks to finally be making a comeback. After wrist surgery and several attempts to return to winning ways, the former British number one and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist in the mixed doubles, had had a battle on her hands to get back to fitness and regain confidence in her wrists.
This week Robson was seeded fourth in Kurume, Japan at an event is played on outdoor carpet. These surfaces provide a resilient and weather-resistant playing area, and are normally laid on a asphalt or concrete base. Carpet courts consist of a textile surface of woven or non-woven nylon, or a polymeric or rubber material, typically supplied in rolls or sheets of finished product. Rubber mat surfaces are generally slow to medium pace, whereas Nylon carpet surfaces are generally faster. Events on carpet can be held all year round as they are resistant to softening from heat and frost.
In the first round Robson was up against Momoko Kobori, the Japanese did not cause the Brit much of an issue in the first set, with Robson breaking early and taking the set. However, in the second Kobori proved a little tougher and made the fourth seed fight hard for the win, which the Brit did secure 6-3, 7-5.
After the tricky first match the Brit was just too strong for her next opponent Rika Fujiwara. The fourth seed faced very little resistance in this match with Robson being in complete control. Losing only one game in the first set, Robson soon had the lead. The Japanese tried to put up a fight in the second set, but the Brit was having non of it and took the match 6-1, 6-3.
In the quarter final the Brit was facing Miharu Imanishi. The fourth seed did not get off to the best of starts as the Japanese player broke her serve. Robson was unable to break back and found herself a set down.
This is where the confidence needed to come in and with a re-group the Brit came out for the second set. Taking total control Robson dominated the set and didn’t lose a single game in it to dish out a bagel to the Japanese. The final set was a nerve jangler.
Robson appeared to be out when Imanishi broke serve. However, the Brit managed to break back when essential to stay in the match. The fourth seed eventually edged the match 3-6, 6-0, 7-5.
The semi-final put the Brit against Erina Hayashi, one of only two Japanese players left in the draw, both were playing Brits in the semi finals. Robson & Hayashi were very evenly matched, neither player giving an inch. The fourth seed managed to grab the break of serve at the end of the set to have a lead. The second set was very tight. Both players holding serve, and eventually it headed into a tiebreak. Robson showed her old form (she made the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2013) and dominated the tiebreak to head into the final 7-5, 7-6(3).
The final would be a battle of the Brits. Robson, the only seed left, would take on Katie Boulter. In addition to the title ranking rises were on the line too. Boulter could raise well into the top 250 and Robson would have ranking that started with a number one again instead of a number two. As the higher ranked of the Brits, this was going to be won by the fourth seed – on paper at least. Robson was on form in the final, and took the title in straight sets, defeating her counterpart 6-3, 6-4 to get herself back into the Top 200.
Challenger and ITF round up
Boulter lost in the final of Kurume to Robson
Katy Dunne lost in the second round of Kurume to Boulter
Heather Watson lost in the quarter finals of Trnava
Naomi Broady lost in the second round of Trnava
Ed Corrie qualified but lost in the first round in Busan
Brydan Klein lost in the second round of Busan
Liam Broady lost in the second round of Busan – to the eventual champion Vasek Pospisil
Next week Brits play in Lyon, Paris (Roland Garros qualifying), Netanya & Santarém
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