The Italian Francesca Schiavone overcame some stubborn resistance from Great Britain’s Laura Robson to progress to the second round of Wimbledon 2012. 32-year old Schiavone is appearing in her 11th championship at the All England Club and won in 3 sets 2-6 6-4 6-4, but for much of the first set looked as though she may have to retire due to injury. Robson came out looking strong, and dropped just two games in the first set, with the Italian seeming to struggle with a back injury that prompted a visit from the trainer at the beginning of the second set.
But with the British player seemingly in control, Schiavone took advantage of some sloppy play to break midway through the second set – after Robson had failed to convert 3 break points herself. From this point onwards the former women’s number 4 improved dramatically, taking the second set and continuing her new-found dominance at the beginning of the final set. Two more breaks of serve left Robson looking beaten, but she regained some composure with the help of the home crowd and pulled one break back. This late effort wasn’t enough however and Schiavone made sure the second break her opponent needed wouldn’t happen easily and eventually the Italian closed out the match at the 5th attempt.
After the match there was some disagreement over Schiavone’s continual slowing of the play, using each opportunity to take her time, but the Italian defended the way in which she went about winning. “She [Robson] wanted to be fast, and sometimes you have to stop a little bit more,” Schiavone said. “We have a lot of seconds [between points] and it’s important to use them. We forget that, because we are in a rush, but it’s important to play at the best, and not just keep running and running.”