Laura Robson could make Wimbledon quarter-finals, says Mark Petchey
Mark Petchey says British number one Laura Robson can power her way into the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Last Updated: 25/06/13 7:03pm
That's the view of tennis pundit Mark Petchey after the British number one despatched 10th seed Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-4 in her opening clash at SW19 to book a second-round meeting with Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque Marino.
Robson, the world number 38, smashed eight aces past Russian player Kirilenko and Petchey told Sky Sports News HD that the left-hander can make the last eight at SW19 if she continues to hit the ball with such potency.
"Laura's draw is pretty good and she will gain a lot of confidence from the way she performed against Kirilenko, so I think the quarters is a very realistic goal," said Petchey, who made the third round of Wimbledon in 1997.
"Laura hits the ball so well - her winners against Kirilenko were amazing - and so she controls her own destiny and if she keeps doing that and knows when to defend and when to attack, it will take a pretty stiff performance to knock her out."
Robson teamed up with Andy Murray's former coach Miles Maclagan ahead of the grass-court season and Petchey says the Brit's win over Kirilenko, an erstwhile Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist, proves the partnership is already paying dividends.
And the commentator reckons Maclagan's influence allied with Robson's big-game character can lift the 19-year-old - who lost in the first round at the All England Club in 2012 to Francesca Schiavone - to the apex of the women's game.
"Laura's destination has always been the top 10 and possibly somewhere even higher than that and I've always felt very confident and excited about her future," said Petchey.
"She is still at that learning stage and figuring out what she wants, but the collaboration with Maclagan has been cemented somewhat by this win [over Kirilenko] and will be great for her going forward.
"Laura has always had the temperament for big matches - you could see that by the way she served against Kirilenko - and the sky is the limit for her."
Robson's fellow Brit Heather Watson, however, tumbled out of Wimbledon at the first-round stage, losing 6-3 7-5 to American teenager Madison Keys, and the Guernsey-born player cited the continued effects of glandular fever as a determining factor in her defeat, in which she made 15 unforced errors.
Petchey believes Watson, who was sidelined for two months earlier this season due to the viral disease, will take time to readjust to top-level tennis, but thinks the 21-year-old will be firing again come late summer.
"It's been difficult for Heather after what she has been through and I'm sure it's been tough mentally," added Petchey. "When she's tired, she's probably wondering whether she's really tired or whether it's down to the glandular fever.
"Heather is also not quite the big hitter that Robson is, won't get so many free points and doesn't instil quite the fear factor, so she will win her matches in a different way.
"Movement is key and in a few months' time I think she will be back to her best."