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By Chris Oddo

(August 30, 2012)--Laura Robson is for real. That much was made apparent as the 18-year-old powered past ninth-seeded Li Na today on Armstrong with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory over the Chinese No. 1.

The victory for the 18-year-old sets up a round of 16 clash with defending US Champion Sam Stosur.

When asked in a post-match interview what is going on with her, Robson demurred, saying "I have no idea." But the truth of the matter is that Robson is playing near flawless tennis, serving with gusto and hitting returns with impressive depth and pace.

Robson hit nine aces and won 44 of 53 first serve points against the red-hot Li, but more importantly she kept her composure after losing a hard-fought tiebreaker in the second set.

In the third set, with the players on serve at 2-all, Robson's resolve was tested again. A bad call on the baseline  that would have given her a much-needed service break
went in favor of Li. After a brief discussion with the umpire, the point was ruled to be replayed (as fans voiced their displeasure) and Li saved the break point. But Robson went back to her business unfazed, securing the decisive break a few points later.

She never lost another game.

Robson lost only five points on serve in the third set and did not face a break point against Li.

She also kept constant pressure on the Li serve in set three, winning 14 of 26 points against her first serve and converting on 2 of 7 break points in the decider.

Robson had never been beyond the second round of a Grand Slam until she defeated Kim Clijsters on Wednesday. Now she's reached the last 16 in her first Grand Slam with knew coach Zeljko Krajan in her box. Krajan, a former ATP World No. 88, gained notoriety when he coached Dinara Safina to the No. 1 ranking.

Stosur Ends Lepchenko’s Run in Straight Sets

Sam Stosur is feeling relaxed, and it shows. The defending US Open champ came through nicely after a tough battle in the first set, 7-6(5), 6-2.

“I think as the match went on, I probably became a little more comfortable, got used to her spin and maybe the wind a little bit more,” Stosur said. “It was tricky out there during the first set. I think once I got that first set then I maybe relaxed a little bit more.”

Stosur, 28, took advantage of a few crucial errors from Lepchenko to take the first-set tiebreaker, then put the hammer down on the American in the second set, winning 16 of 17 points on serve and breaking Lepchenko twice.

After compiling a 2-6 record at the US Open in her first six appearances, the Gold Coast, Australian native has gone 14-1 with a quarterfinal result and a title.

This weekend she'll meet Robson for a spot in the quarterfinals for the third straight time.

“You’ve got to be aware that she’s going to come out swinging and have that confidence behind her,” said Stosur.

Sharapova Cruises Past Burdette

Mallory Burdette got a real taste of big-time tennis on the Grand Slam stage when she ran into an ornery-as-ever Maria Sharapova on Arthur Ashe today.

Burdette, a rising Stanford senior who has made the most of her wildcard with two wins this week, was no match for Sharapova on this day. Sharapova reeled off five consecutive breaks of serve to breeze past Burdette. The four-time Grand Slam champion has lost a total of seven games in her first three matches in New York.

Sharapova will face Nadia Petrova in the round of 16. Petrova defeated Lucie Safarova 6-4, 7-5 on Grandstand earlier in the day.

Kvitova Serves up a Victory over Parmentier

Petra Kvitova matched her career-best US Open performance with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Grandstand over Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier.

In 92 degrees heat, Kvitova kept her service games short by putting 38 of 51 first serves in play against the World No. 90. The fifth seed did not face a break point and converted one break—enough to get the job done—in each set.

Kvitova has only dropped serve twice in the first three rounds, but she'll face a much more difficult opponent when she meets the eleventh-seeded Marion Bartoli in the round of 16.

Bartoli scored an easy 6-2, 6-4 victory over Kristina Mladenovic of France.

 

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