Rooney misspells success for giant-killer Robson

08:14 | 01/09/2012
British giant-killer Laura Robson forgave English football star Wayne Rooney for a Twitter blunder over her surname on Friday, insisting that celebrity interest can only be good for her and tennis.

Laura Robson of Great Britain hits a return to Li Na of China during their women's singles match at the 2012 US Open tennis tournament in New York. Robson forgave English football star Wayne Rooney for a Twitter blunder over her surname on Friday, insisting that celebrity interest can only be good for her and tennis. (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)

Robson, the 18-year-old world number 89, became the first British woman since Jo Durie in 1991 to make the fourth round of the US Open with a stunning 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 win over Chinese ninth seed Li Na, the 2011 French Open champion.

It followed her straight-sets second round victory over triple US Open champion Kim Clijsters which sent the four-time Grand Slam title winner into retirement.

Such was the impact made by her win that even Manchester United star striker Wayne Rooney, who earns in two weeks what Robson has made in her entire career, took to Twitter to sing her praises.

Unfortunately, his accuracy in front of goal was not matched by equally deadly precision on his smartphone.

"Laura Robinson is playing brilliant good luck Laura," tweeted Rooney, currently sidelined from action to recover from a thigh injury.

He quickly composed a red-faced correction.

"Robson sorry on new phone Samsung predictive text taking over haha," he wrote.

Robson said she had seen Rooney's message and took it in good spirit.

"He called me Robinson. I saw that when I was stretching," said the British left-hander, whose participation in the season's other three Grand Slam events ended with first round defeats.

"Can you blame that on predictive text? I'm not so sure. But it's great that he watched, even though he got my name wrong. The more people watch the better.

"Maybe a few people a bit younger than me have seen his tweets and said, I want to play a bit of tennis now."

Later, Robson told ESPN television: "Bummer. My ego could have been up here, but now it's just down here," she said, holding her hands as high as the top of her head and then her chest.

The TV hostess thanked her for appearing and closed by saying, "Robson, Wayne Rooney, R-O-B-S-O-N."

Amidst the drama of her win, Robson also managed to pick out a celebrity fan in the Armstrong Stadium crowd in the portly shape of British TV and Broadway actor James Corden.

"I spotted him midway through the first set and then spent the rest of the time trying not to wave," she admitted.

Australian-born Robson, the youngest player in the world top 100 and the 2008 Wimbledon junior champion, showed few signs of nerves as she swept into the fourth round of a major for the first time.

Her win over Li was her first victory against a top-10 player -- and the first by a British woman at a Grand Slam since Sam Smith made the fourth round at Wimbledon in 1998.

It also gave her a US Open last-16 match-up with defending champion Samantha Stosur of Australia.

Stosur said she would be ready for a confident Robson when they meet in the fourth round.

"Laura is a young player. She has had a very good career so far and she had a great victory in the last round beating Kim so she will be confident," said the Australian.

"She's already had two very good wins and she's full of confidence. I'm going have to be ready to play my best game if I'm going to beat her.

"For sure it can be a very tricky match. She's got nothing to lose and she has had two of the biggest wins of her career."

Robson's back-to-back wins over Clijsters and Li left Maria Sharapova and former US star Chris Evert impressed.

"This is definitely her breakthrough Grand Slam where she's been playing extremely well," said Sharapova.

"I've practiced with her a few times. Played her at the Olympics and last year at Wimbledon. She has a big game, and also a lefty, which adds to her strength."

Evert tweeted: "@laurarobson5 upsetting Li Na after beating Kim Clijsters...Convincing me, yet again, that we're seeing a star being born!"

AFP

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