Olympians Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha were unable to follow Heather Watson into Wimbledon's third round yesterday, both losing in straight sets.
In the morning Keothavong was blown away 6-1, 6-1 in one hour, one minute by Sara Errani, the French Open finalist and No 10 seed. In the evening, on the same No 2 court, Baltacha looked like suffering even greater embarrassment when she endured a 22-minute first set whitewash against defending champion Petra Kvitova, then went 0-4 down in the second. An ignominious first 'double bagel' of her career loomed, but she dug in to make Petrova work for victory before losing 6-0, 6-4.
"She was just like blasting it past me in that first set," said Baltacha. "As soon as you show her a second serve, that's it. You're in trouble. Your energy drops and that's it, you know. Before you know it, you're like, you're bageled. But in the second set she had a little bit of a dip and I managed to climb my way back. Then she showed her class at the end."
Keothavong started nervously and was 4-0 down within quarter of an hour. She began the second game by holding her serve but that proved a false dawn as her Italian opponent rattled through the rest of the match. "It was always going to be a tough match," said Keothavong, "but I'm disappointed with my own performance because I know I can play better. I didn't challenge her today as much as I would have liked and to lose in that fashion is not particularly pleasing. I was not sharp enough. It happens."
"I was nervous. It's Wimbledon. I think everyone is nervous before they go out there, but I just forced it a bit too much. I felt I had to be the one who was aggressive because I'm not going to win trying to out-rally her, she's better at that than I am. She didn't hit me off the court, I hit myself off the court."
At 28 the world No.77 is in danger of being eclipsed by rising stars Heather Watson and Laura Robson but she insisted she has not intention of quitting. "I have been around for a while, but there are girls older than me who are still out there winning slams and doing really well. I still enjoy what I'm doing and I still feel like I can improve. Today's performance wasn't very good, and I know that. But I also know it's just one match. I'm capable of playing better tennis. As long as I'm still enjoying it and as long as I'm fit and healthy, there are worse ways to make a living."
Baltacha, with her injury history, has thought about retiring but now says she's taking it week-to-week. "I love competing. Probably more so now than I kind of ever have before. If I still really enjoy it, if I still believe I'm improving and I still love it, then I'll carry on. If I get to a week where I say I don't want to do it anymore, then I will stop. At the moment I want to keep going."
Both now have the Olympics at Wimbledon to look forward to after confirmation of their singles selection on Wednesday. "Every time I think of the Olympics, I'm just over the moon about the selection," said Keothavong. "It's something new. It's something special. And the fact that it's in London... I'm superpumped about it."
Baltacha, using the same footballer-terminology, said: "I'm so like over the moon. It's going to be amazing."