LONDON (Reuters) - Angelique Kerber won the “battle of the lefties” on Monday as she beat British wildcard Laura Robson 6-2 6-2 in the Wimbledon first round to notch up her first grand slam victory since hoisting the Australian Open trophy in January.
A first-round loser at Roland Garros last month, Kerber made sure she did not suffer another opening-round humiliation as she safely negotiated her way past the injury-plagued Robson.
“It’s always tough to play the first few rounds at the grand slam. After the first‑round loss in Paris, it’s great to start the tournament like this,” the fourth seed told reporters.
“It’s always nice to play on the big stage, especially here in Wimbledon. I like this tournament so much. I have great memories. I reached the semis one year.”
Robson also has great memories of Court One, having captured the Wimbledon junior title in that arena in 2008.
However, since undergoing surgery on her left wrist two years ago, tennis courts around the world have turned into her own personal torture chambers as the 22-year-old has struggled to recapture the form that lifted her to 27th in the world in 2013.
“For me, it’s a massive win to be here and not have any niggles for quite a few months now,” said Robson, who is now ranked 283rd in the world.
”I’ve worked very, very hard to be healthy, to be completely fit on court. It’s 100 percent a huge goal for me to finish the year in the same way.
“I am where I am. I need to work on improving that and not just looking in the past.”
Robson’s glorious past included beating Kerber in the first round at the All England Club in 2011.
But since then their careers have forked in completely different directions.
While Kerber became the first German woman to win a grand slam title in 17 years when she triumphed in Melbourne, Robson’s career has become all about the mental and physical scars that simply refuse to fade away.
Kerber never allowed Robson to gain any kind of momentum as the Briton failed to earn a single break point.
An unreturnable serve ended Robson’s miserable day out on Court One, allowing the German fourth seed to book a second- round match against American Varvara Lepchenko.
“She’s number four in the world for a reason. The biggest strength in her game is not giving you any free points,” added a glum Robson.
“I kind of let it get away from me. I could have served better. Could have returned better.”
Editing by Ed Osmond