NEW YORK — Laura Robson dissolved into giggles at a reference to British boy band One Direction.
Yes, she’s definitely 18. She also has beaten two former Grand Slam champions at the U.S. Open, and will face another in her next match.
The British teen beat 2011 French Open winner Li Na in the third round Friday, two days after she ended the career of four-time major champ Kim Clijsters. Next up: Sam Stosur, who happens to be the defending champion.
“I have had a fairly tough draw, haven’t I?" Robson said with the smile of a player racking up confidence.
Ranked 89th, Robson had never been past the second round of a major tournament or knocked off a top 10 opponent before this year’s Open. Now she’s done both, after eliminating the ninth-seeded Li 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
Robson put her hands to her head in I-can’t-believe-this joy after the Chinese star returned her serve long on the final point.
“I have had lots of tough matches against some very experienced opponents, so the way that I see it, it was time to start winning a few of them," Robson said.
Stretching before the match, Robson noticed a tweet from English soccer star Wayne Rooney wishing her luck. Except he called her “Laura Robinson." Rooney later faulted predictive text for the gaffe, which didn’t seem to dent Robson’s self-assurance.
“Can you blame that on predictive text, though?" she joked. “I’m not so sure."
Following her from the stands Friday was British actor James Corden.
“I spotted him midway, like, first set, and then spent the rest of the time trying not to wave," Robson said.
She also 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.