Laura Robson, the only seeded teenager in the US Open, returned to the scene of her best sustained performance in the sport and eased past the Spaniard Lourdes Domínguez Lino on day one to go through to the second round.
A year after retiring Kim Clijsters and putting out Li Na, Robson is back at Flushing Meadows with a new coach, Miles Maclagan, Andy Murray's former mentor, and the influence of the one-time doubles specialist was evident in her improved movement and willingness to attack the net, as she won 7-5, 6-0 in an hour and 22 minutes.
Her serve is still a concern – she got only 57% of her first efforts in the box and added eight double faults to her unwanted portfolio as her wonky ball-toss again plagued her – but she did hit six aces and her energy levels are high. The injury to her right wrist that at one point threatened to force her to reconsider entering here, did not trouble her at all.
Robson said beforehand she would gamble going forward to unsettle an opponent who had won their only two meetings and, in six of 12 visits to the net in the first set, it paid off, a reasonable dividend. But it was her core game of strength in the forehand (and occasionally on the other wing) that brought her early success.
An awful double fault (the second effort an embarrassing miss-hit) to drop serve for the second time put Robson 3-2 down and it was clear her start-ball was still the easily identified flaw in her game. So she had to rely on her booming forehand to stay in touch, not exactly a rarity in the women's game.
Nonetheless, Domínguez Lino broke and served for the set after 50 minutes, but faltered, and Robson was still very much in the contest.
Surviving on her wits, and plainly not trusting her serve, she double-faulted for the seventh time in the 11th game and had to scramble back three break points, going 6-5 up with a backhand that inched inside the line.
Playing steadily and with patience, Robson ate into Domínguez Lino's confidence and, pushing her deep, forced a final false shot, an overcooked backhand, to take the set 7-5 in 53 minutes.
Just past the hour, Robson produced a forehand down the line that any player on the men's Tour would be proud of, to break for 2-0. Robson's eighth double fault handed Domínguez Lino another chance to break but she crumbled in the face of a barrage of hard, deep ground strokes. From there to the line it was one-way traffic.
She is in the same quarter of the draw as Li, who dropped just four games in dismissing Olga Govortsova of Bulgaria in 64 minutes. A rematch in the third round beckons.
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