Madrid Masters: Laura Robson lets victory slip through her fingers

 

Drama tends to follow Laura Robson wherever she plays and the 19-year-old Briton's latest tournament ended in typical fashion in Madrid. Robson, who was attempting to win a place in the quarter-finals of a WTA Premier event for the first time, led Ana Ivanovic 5-2 in the final set but went on to lose 5-7, 6-2, 7-6.

While Robson should draw encouragement from her first event after parting company with her coach, Zeljko Krajan, she will surely look back on this as a missed opportunity. Having recovered from a poor second set, Robson was on the brink of securing a quarter-final against Germany's Angelique Kerber when she let Ivanovic back in the match.

For the most part Robson struck the ball well, playing with her usual aggression and forcing Ivanovic on to the back foot. She chased down many of Ivanovic's best shots and generally looked comfortable on a surface which does not necessarily suit her game.

As has often been the case in recent months, however, Robson's erratic serve was a crucial factor. The Briton hit 11 double faults, the last of them on match point, and put only 52 per cent of her first serves in court. Ivanovic was similarly wayward, but the world No 16 held her nerve admirably in the closing stages.

Robson, who was aiming to build on her memorable victory over Agnieszka Radwanska, the world No 4, in the previous round, set the pace for much of the first set, despite dropping her serve in the opening game. Ivanovic dug herself out of trouble when serving at 3-4, but at 5-6 she went set point down after putting a backhand wide. Robson immediately took her chance, forcing Ivanovic into another backhand error with the quality of her return.

In the second set, however, Robson made double faults in each of her service games and was broken four times. Nevertheless, it was the Briton who initially took charge of the decider before letting the match slip from her grasp. Ivanovic won four games in a row to lead 6-5, only to hit two double faults in succession as she was broken to love when serving for the match. Robson led 3-2 in the tie-break and saved a first match point with some typically aggressive play, but on the second the Briton double-faulted once again.

Krajan had been working with Robson since last summer, but the coach and player have decided to go their separate ways. Robson, who had suffered a succession of disappointing defeats in the last three months, will work with coaches from Adidas and from the Lawn Tennis Association while she looks for a permanent replacement.

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

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

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor