ROME, Italy - Laura Robson overcame a very windy day and beat Venus Williams in the first round of the Internationali BNL d'Italia, setting up a very intriguing second round date with the World No.1.
Robson, fresh off a breakthrough week in Madrid where she beat Agnieszka Radwanska for her first win over a Top 5 player, fought through the gusts and broke serve six times to beat Williams, 63 62.
"I always have trouble with the wind so it was kind of tough in the first set, but then it sort of settled down," Robson said. "The hardest part for me was on my service games, having to wait so long between the first and second serves because of the wind. But I just got used it, and I got centered.
"It's hard to play high quality tennis in the wind, but I'm still happy to have won today."
Robson talked about being inspired by Williams growing up. "I remember seeing her play at Wimbledon when I was about 10 and I was blown away with the speed she hit the ball. And today when she hit the ball in the center of the racquet it was basically point over, so I really just had to take my chances.
"I was pretty pumped when I saw the draw. I can remember saying when I was 14 that I wanted to play Venus, and now I got my wish. It was a tough draw but I was really excited to get out there."
On Tuesday night Robson will play Serena Williams in her second round match, which isn't just going to be her first meeting with the World No.1, but her first meeting with any World No.1 at all.
"I've always wanted to play her," Robson said. "It'll be a good test. She's playing probably her best tennis. It's going to be insanely tough, but I'm just going to go out there and do my best."
It presents Robson with an opportunity to add her name to history - only seven players have ever beaten both Williams sisters at the same tournament (Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic), and only one has done it on clay (Jankovic). Also, all of those players were, had been or would become No.1 in the world.
And another thing - at 19 years and 3 months, Robson would be the youngest player ever to achieve the feat. The only other teenager to do it was Kim Clijsters, who did it at 19 years and 5 months.
Serena Williams was asked about Robson in her pre-tournament press conference. "She has a great game and is really young and free," she said. "She plays so smooth and is also a lefty, which just adds another notch to her level. She's a great girl and it's good to see her playing so well these days.
"I've never played her before and I'm looking forward to it - it's a tough second round."http://www.wtatennis.com/news/article/3177765/title/robson-beats-venus-serena-up-next