The raw talent and mentality is demonstrably in place, but Laura Robson yesterday had a painful reminder that these assets must still be harnessed to her physical development. Still only 15, Robson surrendered her girls' singles title when a back injury contributed to her third-round defeat by Quirine Lemoine, of the Netherlands.
The rising star of the British game summoned the trainer after a disastrous start, having lost the first three games, two on her own serve. The heat was overpowering, and the home crowd sat mute in anxiety. But Robson got to her feet, and soon inspired boisterous support from Court 18 with the sort of tenacity that is fast becoming familiar. The girl who survived a 43-game epic in the first round of the ladies' doubles this time persevered through 2 hours and 17 minutes before eventually succumbing 6-2, 4-6, 8-6.
After her treatment, the second seed promptly retrieved one of the breaks against her but she was still lacking her usual mobility and Lemoine broke back before serving out for the first set. Robson regrouped to force a decider, and courageously salvaged three match points at 3-5, only to be broken to love in the 13th game. Robson had mustered just two aces in the match. Her discomfort required her to pull out of a scheduled doubles match later in the day.
"We don't know exactly what the problem is yet, but hopefully we will find out in the next couple of days," she said. "It was a bit of a spasm, but I expect it will get better. It gradually got worse throughout the match, and it felt like I couldn't hit the ball very hard – especially on my serve. So it was difficult, but I just wanted to keep playing."
It was a dispiriting end to her tournament, but she showed mature perspective. "It's really disappointing, a bit frustrating as well, but you can only learn from it," she said. "I thought that my first two matches in the juniors were pretty good, and against [Daniela] Hantuchova [in the women's singles] I was proud of myself. So it has been a good two weeks. It is just disappointing it had to end this way."
Tom Farquharson, the last Briton in the boys' singles, was meanwhile beaten in straight sets by the Australian third seed, Bernard Tomic. But something of his younger brother's form rubbed off on Jamie Murray, who made the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles in the company of Liezel Huber as they disposed of the sixth seeds, Mike Bryan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.