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Page last updated at 20:08 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 21:08 UK

Robson eases to opening victory

Date: 22 June - 5 July
Coverage: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD, Red Button, website streaming (UK only) and text commentary, 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC iPlayer
Tennis on the BBC

By Chris Bevan
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Laura Robson
Robson hit 36 winners in her victory over Paliivets

Britain's Laura Robson began the defence of her junior girls' title with a straightforward 6-3 6-2 first-round win over Canada's Katarena Paliivets.

Robson, 15, lost on her debut in the women's singles last week but always looked in control against Paliivets.

The second seed dominated after breaking early in each set and plays Australia's Sally Peers, 18, next.

British number two Heather Watson, the 12th seed, fell to a disappointing 6-4 1-6 6-4 to Russia's Valeria Solovieva.

Watson, the 12th seed from Guernsey, struggled in the heat during a tense decider and it was Solovieva who held her nerve to win.

But, with the backing of a vocal home crowd on Court 14, Robson was in solid form and used her powerful groundstrokes to good effect.

She hit 36 winners - as well as banging down eight aces - against her 17-year-old opponent and looked full of confidence.


Robson was satisfied with her opening performance, saying: "I think I could have played a bit better, but for a first-round match against a tricky player, I thought it was pretty good."

"I'm probably the one everyone wants to beat because I won it last year. But there's quite a few other girls in the draw that are pretty tough, too."

In the boy's singles, Richard Gabb, David Thomson and Tom Farquharson all came through their first-round matches.

Gabb, 17, who was born in Cornwall but plays for the TeamBath tennis academy, dropped the first set against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France but battled on to win 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4.

Thomson, from Hatfield, also came back from a set down, beating Austria's Dominik Wirlend 4-6 6-2 6-4, as did Farquharson, who beat Italy's Alessandro Bega 3-6 6-4 6-2.

But Oliver Golding lost 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to France's Gianni Mina, Liam Broady fell 4-6 6-4 6-3 to Alexander Domijan of the United States and James Marsalek was beaten 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 by Slovakia's Filip Horansky.

I'm probably the one everyone wants to beat because I won it last year. But there's quite a few other girls in the draw that are pretty tough, too

Laura Robson

Ashley Hewitt beat second seed Liang-Chi Huang 6-4 7-5 on Saturday.

In the girl's singles, Alexandra Walker fought back to beat Thailand's Khunpak Issra 3-6 6-3 7-5.

There were high hopes that Watson, a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open in January, would also make progress but, just as in Melbourne, she struggled to cope with the soaring temperatures at Wimbledon on Monday.

The 17-year-old's mother Michelle told BBC Sport afterwards: "Her brain cells fried in the heat and she didn't play like she can do.

"She needs to learn from this and condition herself so it doesn't happen again."

Watson began well enough, holding to love in the first game, but she lost the next four games and could not salvage the first set.

Things were very different in the second set, with Watson's mobility and powerful serve giving her the upper hand.

Heather Watson
Watson is second behind Laura Robson in the British junior rankings

That momentum continued into the start of the decider, with Watson breaking for a 2-0 lead, but she seemed to run out of steam.

Solovieva, who needed treatment for a knee injury earlier in the match, attacked with renewed vigour to win four of the next five games and lead 4-3, when Watson called a medical time-out to deal with the effects of the blazing sun.

In the next game, Watson did well to fight fight back from 0-30 to hold and level at 4-4 but at 4-5 she could not repeat the trick, putting a backhand wide to send the Russian through.

Other British first-round losers were Jennifer Ren, who was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Slovakia's Nastjar Kolar, and Jocelyn Rae, who lost 6-4 6-3 to Sloane Stephens of the United States.

Stephanie Cornish won through to the second-round on Saturday, when she beat Alexandra Krunic of Serbia 6-3 6-3.

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see also
Teenager Robson loses debut match
21 Oct 08 |  Tennis
Briton Robson wins girls' title
05 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Watson loses in French Open final
06 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Watson's father criticises Open
29 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day seven as it happened
29 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon: Live map
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Women's singles results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis

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