Baltacha rescues grim day at Wimbledon for Brits

Victory in the gloom prevents worst start for home players in the Open era

Not until 9.23pm last night, when the sun had long set on Court 1 and entirely sunk on the nation's nascent expectations, did any Briton other than Andy Murray provide something to hope for in the second round

Elena Baltacha's fine 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against Ukraine's 33-ranked Alona Bondarenko helped Britain avoid the ignominy of taking only one representative in the second round for the first time in the Open era. The day was still a bad one, though. Only in 2007, when Tim Henman and Katie O'Brien progressed in 2007, have only two beyond past the first hurdle.

Baltacha looked to heading the way of the rest when she was lost without sight in the first set but three service breaks in the second took her to the decider. Twice the British number two broke the Ukrainian, a one-time world No 19, and twice she was broken straight back. There were two match points spurned and a broken string when she played the first of them before she could finally sink to her knees in relief.

It was the kind of performance that Anne Keothovong, with her ascent to No 51 in the world, seemed to have promised most. The organising committee did not nurture an atmosphere for her by sending her out to Court 4 but her collapse, dreadful to behold, was the product of her rather ordinary opponent putting the ball in court more consistently. 5-3 up in the first set against Austrian Patricia Mayr, ranked 29 places below her, she was broken twice in quick succession and a 7-5, 6-2 defeat was wrapped inside 90 minutes.

There were tears from Keothavong who needed time to stop and gather her thoughts when the question of the nation's expectations was raised. "I just felt... you know... I've overcome so much just to get where I am today," she said.

As her tournament was ending, 25-year-old Bogdanovich's was just beginning. His seven successive Wimbledon first round exits before yesterday set him up to match Neville Deed's record of eight in the tournament. He accomplished it comfortably and when you take into account his two defeats here in the Davis Cup Bogdanovich stands alone in playing ten times at the All England Club and losing every time. Never has a Wimbledon record been equalled with less ceremony. The street cleaners trundled by past Court 4, the Union flag was lifeless and so, too, was the Briton, whose perennial blank belies the idea of a mental struggle going on out there.

It augured ill when Bogdanich offered the first service game to his opponent, Czech No 20 seed Tomas Berdych, who promptly won it to love. There were flickers of life – two aces in the fourth game – but the Briton's wildly over-hit forehand which saw Berdych make the decisive first set service break summed it all up. Two double faults at 5-4 sent the second set the same way and the match escaped 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

"You know, it doesn't matter if I lose eight times, ten times," Bogdanovich said last night and, financially speaking, you see why. His eight wild cards – the LTA recommends to Wimbledon that players inside the top 250 get them – take the proceeds of his eight first round defeats here to a mighty £75,830. He now has Irishman Joe Hackett who lost nine Wimbledon first rounds on the bounce in the 1950s, firmly in his sights.

The man who looked to be reversing the day's depressing trend was Josh Goodall, consistently kept out of the Davis Cup squad by Bogdanovich. An array of delicate approach shots serves topping 132mph took his game against France's Michael Llodra, 34th in the world last year, into five sets. The British No 2, 188th ranked, showed great nerve to close out the fourth set, saving six break points in the final game which saw six deuces. He could – should – have gone a break up in the final set's fifth game. "Three, three!" he screamed when he didn't. That was the number of easy backhands he missed to let Llodra off the hook. When he served to stay in the match, Goodall was broken and it was over.

Katie O'Brien also showed fight against the Czech player Iveta Benesova before losing 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, while Georgie Stoop, up against Russian seventh seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia lost 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. Daniel Evans, 19, against the Russian 12th seed Nikolay Davdyenko brought a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 exit.

It was enough to make them all give up the fight. Was all the training worth it? Keothavong was asked. "I hope so," she said, smiling at last. "I'm figuring it out."

Alex, don't get too despondent

Alex Bogdanovich has some distance to travel to plumb the depths set by the most unsuccessful Grand Slam competitor of all time. While the 25-year-old Briton's defeat takes him to nine first-round exits, the Costa Rican clay court specialist Juan Antonio Marin reached 17. Marin, who retired in 2006, found enough success outside of the Slams to reach 55 in the world in 1999 – and is probably remembered best for his epic five-setter against Pete Sampras at Roland Garros that year, which he lost 6-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-79, 6-4. Marin also had an ATP Tour title to his name – he won at Bastad, Sweden, before calling it quits three years ago. A prize which Bogdanovich is unlikely to be able to tell his grandchildren about.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam