Stunning! Robson dumps world No 8 Li out to reach US Open fourth round
18:43 GMT, 31 August 2012
Laura Robson continued her giant-killing run at the US Open with a brilliant victory over ninth seed Li Na to reach the fourth round.
The 18-year-old had pulled off one of the results of the tournament in the second round by beating three-time champion Kim Clijsters, sending the Belgian into retirement, but this was even better.
In the final set in particular, Robson outplayed one of the form players of the tour and last year's French Open champion to clinch a 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 victory.
Giant killer: Laura Robson will face Sam Stosur in the fourth round at the US Open
Impressive: Laura Robson took the game to Li Na
She becomes the first British woman
to make the fourth round at a grand slam since Sam Smith at Wimbledon in
1998 and the first in New York since Jo Durie 21 years ago.Afterwards,
Robson revealed her plan had just been to take on her shots.
'I knew if I kept sticking with her and playing my shots it might pay off and it did,' she told Sky Sports 3.
'I had a few break points early on and I gave them up with average returning, so when I got a chance I knew I had to go for it.
'She's a great hitter so knew I had to go for it, I`m going to go back to the gym and try to recover for the next match.'
Robson also put her stunning tournament so far down to her fitness levels.
'I've been injured loads in the past
and this is my first time injury free. That`s the biggest improvement
and difference,' she added.
Against Clijsters, Robson had taken
her time to settle but she was firing from the off on Friday, breaking her
opponent's serve with a crunching return to lead 2-0.
Li hit back immediately but the
Chinese player was making far more mistakes than usual and a forehand
long handed Robson another break to lead 4-2.
She missed her chance serving for the
set three games later but Li was helping her opponent out and another
error gave Robson the set on her second opportunity.
Outclassed: Li Na could not get going in the contest
The quality was nothing like that of the Clijsters encounter, with both players making a lot more mistakes than they would have liked, but it was costing the ninth seed more.
Robson dropped serve for a third time at the start of the second set but again responded straight away, nailing a cross-court backhand that had too much power for her opponent.
Robson screamed when she conceded a break point in the seventh game only to save it with an ace. The 18-year-old was serving more double faults than she would have liked, seven in total, but, when she got her first serve in, it was causing big problems for Li.
Twice the British number three held to force Li to serve to stay in the match, but the 30-year-old was playing much better now and did not waver.
The tie-break was as tight as they come and, although Robson did little wrong, it was Li who took it on her first set point with a backhand that landed on the back of the baseline.
Coming-of-age: Robson has now beaten Kim Clijsters and Li on her way to the last 16
It was a blow for the British player but, far from letting it affect her, she redoubled her efforts, showing the improved movement that has been such a feature of her run here.
Li saved three break points in the third game but she could not hold off Robson two games later.
It looked like the ninth seed had been handed a reprieve when a poor line call denied Robson but that only spurred her on even more and the teenager's prodigious ball striking drew the error from Li.
It really was a remarkable performance from Robson, who was playing better and better, and she broke through again to lead 5-2 and leave herself serving for the match.
A double fault hinted at nerves but that was a minor blip and Robson took her first match point with another big serve that Li could only scramble back long.
It does not get any easier for the 18-year-old, though, with defending champion Sam Stosur up next.