British number one Laura Robson has never won a WTA event but there is no shortage of reasons to think that the domestic darling will put that right in her most important season to date.
Currently ranked 44th in the world, the likeable 19-year-old once again reserved her best tennis for the biggest stages this year and newly-appointed coach Nick Saviano’s first job will be channelling those performances into success in some of the smaller events.
Of her four Grand Slam appearances this year, only in Paris did Robson fail to reach the third round, going one step further at Wimbledon where she won three matches before being eliminated at the round-of-16 stage.
That followed her impressive run to the same stage of the US Open in 2012 where she overcame multiple Major winner Kim Clijsters and 2011 French Open champion Na Li before understandably succumbing to the tournament’s winner from the year before, Sam Stosur.
The SW19 resident has shown throughout her last three seasons her ability to match and defeat the very best on tour. Those scalps in New York added to victories over Venus Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Angleique Kerber, the very calibre of players that the Australia-born player will likely have to beat again to capture that maiden title.
Robson’s performances in the smaller events have been a source of frustration for any British fans bothered enough to follow their charge in the 50 weeks that Wimbledon isn’t on.
Inexplicable defeats to players that would struggle to win a game against the Robson that beat the likes of Clijsters and Li in the smaller events on the tour have curtailed her rise up the rankings.
Saviano’s main task for this year will be attempting to get Robson to play at the standard everyone knows she is capable of when facing players she is expected to beat.
Robson knows there is little point in playing her best against players that still may defeat her in the third round and not maintaining that level for the less glamorous tournaments where the same standard could win her an entire title.
No-one will be more aware of this than Robson herself who is an extremely thoughtful personality with no lack of intelligence. The 5/4 on offer that she uses that brain power along with her ability and puts together four or five wins to take down a tournament looks extremely likely, especially if the year begins well under her new set-up.
Heather Watson became the first British women since 1988 to win a WTA title last year and Robson is set to have a far brighter future. What it shows though is that with so many of events on the tour that do not necessarily attract the top players, you do not need to be a world beater to go all the way.
Robson actually has the ability in years to come to be one of the best players in the world and so it really is matter of when, not if, the best thing to happen to women’s tennis in this country for decades has to make way on the mantelpiece for her first piece of WTA silverware.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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