British No 2 Anne Keothavong out of French Open
Anne Keothavong's bid to become the first British woman to win a first-round match at the French Open for 17 years ended in gallant failure after a more than three-hour battle with Russian Vesna Dolonts this afternoon.
Not since Clare Wood beat Gigi Fernandez in 1994 has a British woman tasted victory in the main draw at Roland Garros but hopes were high this year after all three of Britain's representatives received favourable draws.
Keothavong's was perhaps the toughest, against a player ranked seven places higher at 101st, and in the end she could not capitalise on a good start as she went down 3-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 after three hours and 21 minutes.
The Londoner, blending in with the court in an orange dress, began impressively and broke her opponent in the opening game of the match on Court 16.
Dolonts hit back but Keothavong was looking extremely solid and generally coming out on top of lengthy baseline exchanges.
The British number two broke serve again in the fifth game and this time she managed to stay ahead despite some concerted pressure from the Russian, and a third break gave her the first set.
Dolonts received lengthy treatment to her right foot before the start of the second but, far from putting off Keothavong, the 27-year-old promptly made it four games in a row.
All the games were very tight, though, and, after saving two break points in the next game, Dolonts fought back to lead 5-3. Twice the Russian served for the set but twice Keothavong, who also received treatment to her feet, broke back to force a tie-break.
The world number 108 was certainly digging deep and she did so again, winning three points in a row to level at 5-5, but a poor return gave Dolonts set point and this time she took it.
Both players took toilet breaks before the decider, where the topsy-turvy nature of the clash continued, with Dolonts twice going a break up before being pegged back.
Keothavong showed tremendous courage to fight back from 0-40 in the eighth game and level at 4-4 but, after another long break while the trainer attended to her thigh, the Briton finally succumbed, serving a double-fault on match point.
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
New Manchester City manager must deliver five trophies in five years
Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.