NEW YORK — British teen Laura Robson faces a former Grand Slam champion in her next match at the U.S. Open, which shouldn't feel the least bit intimidating.
Not after she beat four-time major winner Kim Clijsters and 2011 French Open champ Li Na in three days. Next up is Sam Stosur, the defending champion at Flushing Meadows.
"She's obviously full of confidence and had two very, very good wins," Stosur said.
The 18-year-old Robson knocked out Li 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 on Friday. Ranked 89th, Robson had never been past the second round of a major tournament or defeated a top-10 opponent before this year's U.S. Open. Now she's done both after eliminating the ninth-seeded Li.
Robson put her hands to her head in shocked joy after the Chinese star returned her serve long on the final point.
She showed poise after failing to close out the match in the second-set tiebreaker, then overcoming two incorrect calls in the third set where she had to replay points she would've won if the initial ruling had been right.
With a break point on Li's serve at 2-2 in the final set, Robson's return clipped the baseline and Li hit the ball wide. But the line judge called Robson's shot out and, after a review overturned it, Robson lost the replayed point. Li won the next point as well to earn game point. But with the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd roaring its support, Robson rallied back to get the break.
On Wednesday, Robson ended Clijsters' career, winning both sets in tiebreakers in the second round against the 23rd-seeded Belgian. Robson's career may now be really getting started.
She became the next great British hope when she captured the 2008 Wimbledon girls title at age 14. Four years later, she seems to be reaching that potential, the youngest woman ranked in the top 100.
Robson is the first British woman to make the fourth round at a Grand Slam event since Sam Smith at 1998 Wimbledon.
Stosur was pushed for the first time in this year's Open by American Varvara Lepchenko, but dominated the second set after winning the first in a tiebreaker. The seventh-seeded Stosur, who won 7-6 (5), 6-2, had dropped just five games through her first two matches.
It was still a successful Open for the 31st-seeded Lepchenko. After reaching at least the third round in three straight Grand Slam events, she'll likely climb into the top 30 in the rankings.
Friday night could be the farewell for 2003 champion Andy Roddick. A day earlier, he announced this would be the final tournament of his career.
The American is set to face Bernard Tomic in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
In earlier men's action, fourth-seeded David Ferrer won the first two sets in 62 minutes, then needed 65 minutes to clinch the third set in a tiebreaker that went 26 points. The Spaniard beat Igor Sijsling 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (12) in the second round.
NCAA champ Steve Johnson, who had played in just one Grand Slam match before this year's Open, reached the third round with a four-set win over 145th-ranked Ernests Gulbis.
The 22-year-old Johnson, ranked 245th, went undefeated this season for Southern Cal to win his second straight NCAA title and earn a wild card into the Open.