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Six Brits lose on disastrous day

23 June 09 14:57 GMT

By Chris Bevan
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Six British players suffered first-round defeats on a disastrous day for home talent at Wimbledon.

Michael Llodra edged out Josh Goodall, Tomas Berdych beat Alex Bogdanovic and Nikolay Davydenko outclassed Dan Evans.

Britain's number one Anne Keothavong left her press conference in tears after being asked whether she had let people down by losing to Patricia Mayr.

Katie O'Brien and Georgie Stoop both went out, leaving Andy Murray and Elena Baltacha as the only British winners.

O'Brien fell in three sets to Iveta Benesova, while Stoop lost narrowly to Vera Zvonareva.

Murray went through with a four-set win over Robert Kendrick - while Baltacha, who reached the third round in 2002, beat Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko in three sets in a late-night match.

But, following defeats for Laura Robson, Mel South and James Ward on Monday, the duo are the only British players left in the main singles draws.

Baltacha had some sympathy for her beaten compatriots, saying: "They had tough draws and I know a couple of them had opportunities. It is tough and so difficult as we have all had such a great year.

"Our rankings are so close apart from Anne and we are all fighting to get up there.

"Everyone performed well and just lost out so I knew I was the last one going and I am really chuffed I managed to pull it out of the bag."

Despite winning only two matches in her previous eight visits to SW19, Keothavong, the world number 51, was expected to beat Mayr - who is ranked 29 places below her - in her match on Court Four.

The 25-year-old had a set-point at 5-3 in the first set but then suffered a total collapse, winning only two more games as her Austrian opponent raced to a 7-5 6-2 victory.

"I've let myself down more than anything," an emotional Keothavong said afterwards when asked about her compatriots' poor results. "I had higher expectations.

"I can't speak for the other girls - I can only focus on my own tennis, which is hard enough at times.

"I am sure they have tried their hardest - you cannot guarantee results but you can guarantee they will have given 110%."

Keothavong returned to her press conference after walking out when a question from a newspaper journalist upset her.

O'Brien led 3-1 in the third set against Benesova but eventually lost 6-2 5-7 6-4 to the world number 35.

And Stoop was broken at 4-4 in the decider as she went down 7-6 (7-0) 4-6 6-4 to Zvonareva in a match that spanned two days.

Goodall, who had also begun his clash with Llodra on Monday night, pushed the Frenchman all the way before being beaten 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 3-6 6-4.

The 23-year-old from Basingstoke, ranked 188th in the world, used his big serve to full advantage in the first set and was unlucky to lose the second in a tie-break before darkness fell.

When play resumed on Tuesday, Goodall went a break up before Llodra fought back to take the third set but he rallied to force his first five-set match.

The decider went with serve until Llodra led 5-4 and Goodall chose the worst possible time to falter, putting a backhand into the net to send the Frenchman through.

Afterwards, Llodra complained that about the quality of the court, describing it as "catastrophic".

He said: "It's only the second day and Court Two is already damaged. I don't know how they are going to be at the end. Year after year, the courts are getting worse."

Evans never looked like causing an upset on Court Four against Davydenko, the 12th seed.

The Russian was too clever for the 19-year-old, who caused problems with his big serve but made far too many mistakes to threaten an upset.

Birmingham wildcard Evans was always playing catch-up in set one, despite clawing back from 3-0 to 3-2 down.

He led 2-0 in the second but could not hold on and was edged out in the third.

The first set lasted just 32 minutes but Evans then made a bright start to the second set, breaking after a brilliant retrieval forced an error from Davydenko.

However he was quickly broken back and the Russian wore him down to extend his lead.

A double fault and then a poor drop shot in the third set gave Davydenko a sniff of a chance at 3-3, 0-30 and he hit a superb backhand winner to break.

At 3-5 Evans hit another double fault at 30-30 and then put a backhand wide on match point to finish off a patchy display that saw him rarely put Davydenko under any real pressure and lose in an hour and 49 minutes.

Evans insisted the scoreline flattered his highly-ranked opponent and vowed to take heart from his defeat.

"If you look at it on paper, it's horrible for me but I think I did well out there," he said.

"Obviously I lost, which is not good, but it's good to find out what the level is."

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