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Plucky Robson bows out to Hantuchova


 

Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:36

Laura Robsons name is set to go down in the history books, but not for the reasons she might have hoped.

Last years Wimbledon Junior champion became the youngest player in the womens event since a 14-year-old Martina Hingis played in 1995. And despite giving it everything, she couldnt give the hyperactive local support on the new No.2 Court a famous victory against Daniela Hantuchova, losing 3-6 6-4 6-2.

It was tennisheads pick of the opening day, and the three-setter was certainly entertaining. Had the world No. 32 lost the match to the 15-year-old British wildcard entrant theres no doubt she would have had little good to say about the All England Clubs new show court.

Its one of our faves with its 4,000 seats, the view of St Marys Church and the interesting noises that come off the adjoining Church Road. With Hantuchova serving in the first set at 5-2 advantage Robson, a siren sounded nearby.

The Slovakian took the point and then the game, but not the set as Robson got us thinking that a little bit of history might be made in front of us.

Unfortunately, she will have to settle for playing the first ever match in the sunken arena. Despite winning the first set 6-3, her 26 year-old opponent kept her composure and took the next two sets and avoid an upset.

It would have been no embarrassment against Robson, who played some good tennis. Her serve was imposing but erratic – she served 10 aces and 14 double faults which, with her 42 unforced errors, let Hantuchova in.

The experienced Slovakians figures were modest in comparison – 5 aces and 2 double faults, and just 20 wayward shots.

Speaking about Laura afterwards Hantuchova identified that being a leftie makes Robson is a tougher player. Yeah, obviously shes got talent, said the former world No.5. She has many things to improve but I think shes on the right way for sure.

Asked what advice she might have for the teen, she said that it is important now that she has the right people around her.

Dealing with the press is something Robson already has licked she always lights up the pressroom, and today was no exception. Her mix of honest answers and her ability to have a joke is endearing.

She admitted that she was a bit upset about the result but Im really proud of myself. I thought I played really really good for a good part of the match and then in the end just a couple of things let me down. One of those things was her second serve, which was much less consistent than normal.

Asked if shed like Henman Hill to be re-named Robson Ridge she sharply identified its not really a ridge and in any case she thinks its Murrays mound, and she managed to laugh it off when reminded that she had been up a set and a break. Thanks for rubbing that in The whole pressroom laughed with her, and you get the feeling that they will for some time to come.

With some aggressive play and looking physically much stronger than when tennishead last saw her play, Robson showed that one day her time will come but now the 15year-old will turn her attention to defending her junior title.

That task is much harder and one senses that now she has taken a set off a top player and made her Grand Slam debut her eyes will be on the big prize. She will return next week to play girls shes played before, and with the knowledge that as defending champion theres bound to be more pressure on her.

All the same, on the basis of her performance today youd fancy Robsons chances to retain that crown and we cant wait to see her back in the press centre. Her Ridge will come.

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