Robson in Hot Form for Battle of 'Lefties' with Kvitova

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Byline: MIKE DICKSON

PETRA KVITOVA was the last left-handed woman to win Wimbledon, and if you are inclined towards optimism then there is a realistic chance that Laura Robson (left) will be the next. The two will meet in the second round of the Australian Open, and the free-swinging Czech will not relish the challenge after what Robson did to Kim Clijsters and Li Na at the US Open and the way she disposed of American Melanie Oudin in the first round, 6-2, 6-3. Heather Watson was due to play last night in the second round against Kazakhstan's Ksenia Pervak. Robson's task looks much tougher but there are grounds for thinking that she might be able to discomfort the 2011 Wimbledon champion. Kvitova took three sets to beat Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone and has had a less than stellar start to the season.

If she is below par then Robson looks in good shape to pounce as the hard work her body is finally allowing her to do after so many growth-related injuries looks to be paying off. Despite the Oudin match being played in soaring temperatures, her demanding Croatian coach Zeljko Krajan ordered her on to the practice courts for a 20-minute hit soon afterward to iron out a few problematic groundstrokes. …