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Robson upsets Kirilenko at Wimbledon

Tuesday - 6/25/2013, 4:27pm  ET

Laura Robson of Britain, right, shakes hands with Maria Kirilenko of Russia after defeating her in their Women's first round singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Tuesday, June 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

SAMUEL PETREQUIN
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) -- Laura Robson became the first British woman to defeat a top-10 player at the All England Club in 15 years when she beat 10th-seeded Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4 in the first round at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old Robson followed in the footsteps of Sam Smith, who upset No. 7 Conchita Martinez in 1998.

Robson, a former junior champion at Wimbledon, entered Court 1 with a lot of pressure on her shoulders after seven British players had lost their first-round matches.

But her victory created a huge buzz on social networks, with even Britain's Prime minister David Cameron taking to Twitter to comment on Robson's win, her third over a top-10 player in Grand Slam.

"Great to hear @LauraRobson5 beat the number 10 seed Maria Kirilenko at (hashtag)Wimbledon," Cameron wrote.

A couple of hours later, her compatriot Tara Moore lost 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 to Kaia Kanepi to leave Robson and Andy Murray as the only remaining Britons in singles.

Amid stinging criticism from the local media, Robson jumped to the defense of her fellow players when asked what was wrong with women's tennis in Britain.

"Nothing," she said. "I think everyone had tough matches. Before this week, everyone was playing really well. So it's unfortunate that no one else made the second round. But that happens sometimes. Last year I lost in the first round. So, you go through stages of ups and downs like everyone else."

Although Kirilenko did not make a single unforced error in the first set, the 38th-ranked Robson got off to a strong start, using her big serve to keep her opponent at bay. She then had to overcome a bout of nervousness at 4-1 in the second set, when she dropped her serve for the first time following a string of unforced errors.

"I think (this win) was a big one for me because although I really like grass and I seem to play well on it, I've never actually done overly well here," Robson said after wrapping up the match with a forehand winner.

"I've only made the second round once. So, yeah, it was a big win for me. I think it was good that I managed to tough it out after I got so nervous in the second set."

Robson said she'll try not to get carried away, but that she believes in her chances to make a deep run in the tournament.

"I think I go out against the top players with nothing to lose, and I've always been like that," she said.


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