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Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 19:17 UK

Battling Robson beaten on debut

Date: 22 June - 5 July
Coverage: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD, Red Button, website streaming (UK only) and text commentary, 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC iPlayer
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Laura Robson

Highlights - Robson suffers debut defeat

By Chris Bevan
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

British teenager Laura Robson could not mark her senior Wimbledon debut with a win, losing to Daniela Hantuchova despite making a stunning start.

Robson, 15, the 2008 girls' champion, hit some huge serves to power to the first set against the world number 32.

But errors began to creep into her game and two double faults handed the former world number five the second set.

Hantuchova, ranked 456 places above Robson, used all her experience in the decider to seal a 3-6 6-4 6-2 victory.

Robson, who was handed a wildcard into the first round and was the youngest player to feature at Wimbledon since Martina Hingis in 1995, was pleased with the way she performed but felt she could have won.

"I am proud of myself and the way the match went," she told BBC Sport.

She reminded me a lot of myself at 15, and at some points in the match I was thinking, 'Hmmm, it's like I'm playing myself'

Daniela Hantuchova

"I was a set and a break up against someone who was one place out of being seeded. It was just disappointing I couldn't close the match out in the end.

"The whole atmosphere was amazing on the new Court Two. Everyone was shouting 'we are so proud of you' and I was trying not to cry.

"I could have won and that's a really good sign for the future."

Hantuchova admitted she had found the match difficult, saying: "It's not easy playing a girl 11 years younger than me.

"Obviously she's got talent and she seems like a very nice girl. She's left-handed, which makes it a bit more awkward.

"There's still a long way for her to go but definitely she's got potential. Her serve is very good, she did a couple of aces a game and she was very smart how she uses it.

"She reminded me a lot of myself at 15, and at some points in the match I was thinking, 'Hmmm, it's like I'm playing myself'."

Cruelly for Robson, it was another double-fault that proved her downfall on match-point - and by then they had become a regular feature of her game.

Robson learns from Wimbledon experience

It had always appeared her serve would play a decisive role against Hantuchova, but in the early stages it looked more likely to be a positive one.

Playing in the first match on the new Number Two Court, Robson made a statement of intent with her first delivery - a booming ace - and it was her power and accuracy on serve that provided her with the platform to take the first set.

The world number 488 is also capable of producing some thumping groundstrokes too and initially her shots were too hot for Hantuchova, a quarter-finalist here in 2002, to handle.

Robson raced into a 3-0 lead and, even after her Slovakian opponent clawed her way back to 3-2, she continued to attack, breaking again thanks to a big forehand winner and keeping her cool to serve out for the set.

Things seemed to be going according to plan for the British number 14 when she broke to lead 3-2 in the second set, with her aggressive approach keeping Hantuchova on the back foot.


But by now the value of Robson's big serve was being undermined by its unreliability and Hantuchova broke back immediately, before being gifted the second set by two successive double faults by Robson at 4-5.

For the first time, Robson appeared short of confidence at the start of the decider, while Hantuchova seemed to have finally settled.

The 26-year old was virtually unchallenged on her own serve and continued to pile the pressure on Robson, who was looking shaky.

More double faults put Hantuchova in control at 5-2 and, despite the best efforts of a vociferous home crowd, there was no way back for Robson.

Hantuchova will play 16th seed Jie Zheng in the second round after she beat unseeded German Kristina Barrois 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

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see also
Wimbledon day one as it happened
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Serena powers into second round
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Sharapova battles past Kutuzova
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Federer opens with easy victory
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Blake suffers surprise early exit
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
BBC Sport's Wimbledon map
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Women's singles results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis

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