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WTA Osaka: Robson beaten by Date-Krumm

Steven Webb in News 8 Oct 2013
Laura Robson followed compatriot Heather Watson out of the HP Open in Osaka.

Laura Robson followed Heather Watson out of the HP Open with a tame 6-4, 6-4 loss to 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm.

A day after Watson’s title defence ended against rising star Monica Puig, Robson faced a very different task as she took on the Japanese veteran. Date-Krumm is not renowned for her power or big serve, but she is an ultra-experienced and savvy competitor. A solid 2013 season has seen her rise to 54th in the rankings, a remarkable achievement for a woman who returned to the WTA Tour in 2008 after a 12-year hiatus. 

Nevertheless, Robson was seeded seventh in Osaka and had beaten Date-Krumm before. She was expected to use her smart lefty serve to set up easy putaways and unleash booming groundstrokes from the back of the court, much as she did during wins over Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Maria Kirilenko earlier this year. 

But the teenager was extremely inconsistent on Monday. She won only 33% of second serve points, and committed countless unforced errors by going for too much from weak positions. She did break the Date-Krumm serve twice, but was broken back immediately on each occasion. Robson had her chances throughout the one hour-26 minute contest - she even had a break point when her opponent served for the match - but poor judgement and shot selection ended her Osaka campaign before it even got going.

Having made the quarter-finals of the HP Open in 2012, Robson could drop out of the top 50 in next week’s rankings. It remains to be seen if she plays any more tournaments this season.

Following Robson out of the singles event is fourth seed Flavia Pennetta. The Italian, a surprise US Open semi-finalist last month, lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 to Vania King. King made the most of her “lucky loser” status: after falling in the final round of qualifying, she earned a spot in the main draw when Jelena Jankovic pulled out. She is now guaranteed at least 30 ranking points and $3,100 in prize money.

There was better news for the other two seeds in action on Tuesday. Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki beat Chanelle Sheepers 7-5, 7-6(1), and eighteen-year-old Madison Keys overcame qualifier Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-2. 

Wednesday’s order of play in Osaka features the WTA’s highest ranked teenager, Eugenie Bouchard, as well as former US Open champion Sam Stosur. Stosur will be taking on the youngest player in the draw, 16-year-old Belinda Bencic, who won the French Open and Wimbledon junior trophies this year.

WTA Osaka Round 1 results, Monday 8th October

Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan) beat 7-Laura Robson (Britain) 6-4 6-4                

Vania King (U.S.) beat 4-Flavia Pennetta (Italy) 3-6 7-5 6-0                   

2-Sabine Lisicki (Germany) beat Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa) 7-5 7-6(1)   

6-Madison Keys (U.S.) beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Slovakia) 6-3 6-2        

Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) beat Lauren Davis (U.S.) 6-3 7-5                  

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Czech Republic) beat Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) 6-2 6-2 

Polona Hercog (Slovenia) beat Petra Cetkovska (Czech Republic) 6-4 5-7 6-1     

Zheng Jie (China) beat Sharon Fichman (Canada) 6-2 6-1                         

Luksika Kumkhum (Thailand) beat Ayumi Morita (Japan) 6-2 6-1                   

Zhang Shuai (China) beat Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) 6-0 6-3

Kristina Mladenovic (France) beat Aleksandra Wozniak (Canada) 7-6 6-4

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WTA Osaka: Robson beaten by Date-Krumm

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