Rome - Briton Laura Robson beat Venus Williams 6-3, 6-2 in blustery
conditions at the ATP/WTA Rome Masters on Monday and now faces the
second half of a one-two punch when she next plays Williams' sister and
world No 1, Serena.
The top-seeded American, who was watching from the stands, has targeted
this week and hopes to follow up her Madrid trophy from the weekend.
"I've never played her and I have always wanted to,"Robson said of her Serena date.
"It'll be a good test and she is playing probably her best tennis and so
she is not losing and so its going to be insanely tough but I'm just
going to go out there and do my best."
The 39th-ranked Robson moved through to the second round in just under
90 minutes against Venus, the 1999 Rome winner now ranked 24th.
The five-time Wimbledon winner committed six double-faults, and dropped
serve five times. Robson, 19, closed it out on her third match point.
Venus pulled out of her first match last week with back pain and had reportedly been training at half strength in Rome.
Elsewhere in women's play, Australian Samantha Stosur came third time
lucky in her pre-French Open campaign, with the ninth seed finally
scoring a 2013 European clay victory 6-2, 6-3 over Hsieh Su-Wei of
Stosur wasted no time in getting to Rome after her opening loss last
week in Madrid to Carla Suarez Navarro, with 2010 Roland Garros finalist
Stosur glad to get some work in on her game. She was also winless in
Stuttgart last month.
"I really like the surface, the clay courts here are very light and the
ball gets through the air pretty quickly," said the Australian. "As long
as it's not too windy it's great."
Germany's Sabine Lisicki beat American Madison Burdette 6-1, 6-2, but
German sixth seed Angelique Kerber withdrew prior to her opening match
with an abdominal injury and was replaced by Lourdes Dominguez Lino of
China's Peng Shuai defeated Romanian Monica Niculescu 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
while Italian Nastassja Burnett put out 2008 finalist Alize Cornet of
France 6-2, 6-2.
Among the men, Potito Starace set up his seventh career meeting with
Roger Federer with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 comeback win over Czech Radek
Starace, ranked 293 after reaching 27th on the ATP computer in 2007,
needed nearly two-and-a-quarter hours to get past Stepanek, whom Federer
beat last week in the second round in Madrid.
Starace had lost both of his previous matches with the 34-year-old
Czech, who underwent surgery in January to relieve pressure on a nerve
in his neck