Robson beats jitters to lay down marker at Wimbledon

BRITISH No1 Laura Robson revealed she feared nerves could have seen her fall at the first hurdle at Wimbledon yesterday, but will not shy away from playing on one of the show courts again in round two, after upsetting No10 seed Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4 on a packed Court One.

Robson had too much power for her Russian opponent, who reached last year’s quarter-finals, but almost choked at crucial times in a match she otherwise completely controlled.

The 19-year-old, who won London 2012 silver with Andy Murray at the All England Club, broke for 5-3 in the first set, but threw away two set points on serve, before encouragement from the vociferous crowd saw her draw first blood.

Robson quickly broke twice in the second, as Kirilenko could find no answer to her fierce forehands.

But Britain’s only remaining female hope was broken herself as nerves again set in, before closing out the match, though insisted she would be happy to take centre stage against Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino tomorrow.

“My coach asked me before this match whether I had any court requests. I said I was happy to play on any court, so Centre Court is perfectly fine for me,” said Robson, who moved from Australia to England with her family at the age of six, via Singapore.

“The crowd were really good. The general disappointment when you hit a double fault can get to you sometimes, just because you’re feeling that disappointment too. You don’t need 9,000 people telling you.

“Nerves start to creep in a bit and you can lose your timing a tad. I’m in the process of changing my serve a little bit, so I had to refocus on doing the right things and keep trying to hit the big shots.”

Earlier in the day, British No2 Heather Watson was beaten in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5, by America’s Madison Keys.

World No56 Watson missed two months of the season with glandular fever and conceded she is still some way short of her best.

“I feel like my game isn’t back yet,” said the 21-year-old. “I don’t think I served well, I didn’t have a high first serve percentage.

“My reactions are slow, I’m not moving like I usually move, getting balls back. That will come back with time.”

The final Brit to fall in round one was wild card Tara Moore, ranked 194th in the world. The 20-year-old Wimbledon debutant lost 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.