Laura Robson defeated in battling display on Centre Court

 

Francesca Schiavone came from one set down to break Laura Robson's heart in a thrilling first-round clash at Wimbledon.

Robson is ranked 71 places below world number 26 Schiavone, but the 18-year-old Londoner made the 2010 French Open champion look ordinary in the first set by putting on a majestic display of powerful baseline tennis.

Despite needing treatment for what looked like a back injury, Schiavone regained her composure and survived break point in the second set before running out a 2-6 6-4 6-4 winner.

Robson earned a huge standing ovation when she left Court Two, and despite showing flashes of brilliance, the ambitious teenager will no doubt see this as a missed opportunity to claim a huge scalp against a woman who was once ranked fourth in the world.

Robson showed no sign of nerves early on as she clinched her first game to love, but 24th seed Schiavone then showed her experience by doing exactly the same.

Robson engineered a break point in the fourth game with a powerful forehand return and grabbed the opportunity, forcing Schiavone to net after a thrilling rally.

Nerves then appeared to get to Robson as the seventh went to 0-30 but she responded in style, firing down a 113mph ace to rescue the game and move 5-2 ahead.

It was Schiavone who was to suffer from nerves next, as she wasted a 40-15 lead when saving to stay in the set. The Italian was forced to deuce and a powerful return and a double fault gave the home favourite the set after 25 minutes.

The match came to a halt when Schiavone went off court for treatment on her injury.

After around 15 minutes, she reappeared. Robson was initially unfazed by the disruption, holding her serve before almost forcing an other break in the second game.

Schiavone needed yet more treatment and afforded Robson three break points in the sixth game. To the frustration of the partisan crowd, she spurned all three chances, her last two shots going wide by millimetres.

Schiavone made Robson pay by breaking in the next game, the teenager sending a cross-court backhand just wide after a tense rally.

The 32-year-old Italian was using every trick in the book to put her opponent out of her stride, grunting, shouting, challenging calls and taking her towel when Robson was ready to serve.

She held easily to take the second set and Robson crumbled in the opening game of the third, weakly netting on Schiavone's second break point.

The dogged determination Robson had displayed in the first set had disappeared and she double-faulted twice in a row to hand Schiavone her second break in the third.

Robson saved two match points and then stunned her opponent by breaking, but Schiavone already had the break she needed and she nervously served out to seal Italy's second sporting triumph over England in three days.

 

PA

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea