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Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:55 UK

Katie O'Brien loses to Jill Craybas at French Open

French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Date: 23 May-6 June
Live video streamed from 1000 BST on BBC Sport website (UK only) and BBC red button; commentary on BBC 5 live sports extra; also live on Eurosport; text commentary on BBC Sport website Details of BBC coverage

Britain's Katie O'Brien
O'Brien fought back but was finally undone by the American veteran

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Roland Garros

British interest in the women's singles came to an end on day three of the French Open as Katie O'Brien went down in three sets to American Jill Craybas.

The British number three recovered from a disastrous first set to take the initiative with her more aggressive game in the second, but the errors returned in the decider as Craybas came through 6-0 4-6 6-2 in two hours and five minutes.

"Jill's an incredibly solid player, she's always going to compete, but she's never going to hit me off the court," said O'Brien afterwards. "It was going to be me deciding the winners.

"In the second set I managed to get the balance right between attack and defence and then I just made too many errors, and that's what killed me."

A debilitating 14 errors on the forehand side gave the opening set a one-sided look, despite the Briton earning break points in two of her opponent's three service games.

As the mistakes piled up, so O'Brien's frustration mounted, and the shady calm of the backwater that is Court Four was regularly interrupted by angry shrieks from the Hull native.


Craybas is a veteran at 35 years of age, and her peak as a singles player came four years ago when ranked 39th, but she is currently 22 places higher than O'Brien at 101 in the world.

However, the 24-year-old Briton reached a career high of 84 earlier this year and would have been hopeful of faring better than compatriots Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong, both of whom went out to seeded opposition in the first two days.

Hopes were raised in the second set as O'Brien's more attacking style began to punch a few holes in the previously unbreachable Craybas defence.

A drive-volley gave her a first break of the match in game two and, after letting that advantage slip, she moved 4-2 clear with a forehand winner, prompting her first joyful scream of the day.

However, O'Brien failed to serve out the set at 5-4 and a double-fault and another wild forehand gave warning that the earlier frailties were returning.

I could have won that match playing mediocre, but my level was just too inconsistent

Katie O'Brien

It was to the Briton's credit that she continued to try and move forward, and she levelled the scores with another drive-volley to force a final set.

But Craybas took control from the outset, continuing to pound the baseline relentlessly and retrieving everything O'Brien could throw at her.

The American broke at the start of the set and fended off three break points in the second game, earning a lead that she would not relinquish.

A second break in game seven made sure as O'Brien's game became ragged, and the final statistics said it all as the Briton finished with 59 unforced errors to 18 from Craybas.

"The forehand is normally my biggest strength and it let me down today," added O'Brien. "Normally I can rely on that to not break down and also hit a lot of winners but it wasn't quite firing.

"Having said that, I could have won that match playing mediocre, but my level was just too inconsistent. She's a great athlete and that's why she's still doing so well at her age. She's a tough cookie."

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see also
French Open day three as it happened
25 May 10 |  Tennis
French Open day three photos
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Henin comes through French opener
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French Open day two photos
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Top seed Serena past first hurdle
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Baltacha makes early French exit
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Grand slam men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Grand slam women's singles latest
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Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis

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