Robson's title hopes melt in the heat

Britain's rising teenage star beaten by climate and clever opponent after comeback in China

Laura Robson's attempt to become the first Briton to win a title on the main Women's Tennis Association tour for 24 years ended in disappointment yesterday, but there were still plenty of positives the world No 74 could take from her week in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

Robson was beaten 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 by Su-Wei Hsieh, from Chinese Taipei, in a final played in gruelling conditions of heat and humidity. The 18-year-old Briton saved five match points in the second set and won seven games in a row to take a 3-0 lead in the decider but eventually ran out of steam.

The first Briton to reach a WTA final since Jo Durie lost at Newport, Rhode Island in 1990, Robson was aiming to become the first to win a tournament on the tour since Sara Gomer won in Aptos, California in 1988. Robson had already beaten three higher-ranked opponents – Jie Zheng (world No 22), Peng Shuai (No 47) and Sorana Cirstea (No 30) – to reach the final but came up against a 26-year-old opponent who combines durability with unpredictability. Hsieh, the world No 53, who won her first WTA title earlier this year, plays double-handed on both sides and can trouble opponents with clever variations of pace, subtle spins and drop shots.

After Robson had made the first break, Hsieh won four games in a row to take control of the first set. Robson went 2-0 up in the second, only for Hsieh to fight back and take a 5-3 lead. In the 32C heat and 60 per cent humidity Robson appeared to be wilting, but in a remarkable ninth game the former Wimbledon junior champion saved five match points with some bold attacking play.

It was the first of seven games in a row for Robson, but most of them had been close and from 3-0 down it was Hsieh's turn to launch a rearguard action. Robson stopped the rot when she served to stay in the match at 3-5, but in the next game Hsieh created her sixth match point with a typically inventive drop shot. This time Robson sent a backhand wide to give Hsieh victory after more than two-and-three-quarter hours.

Having become British No 1 last week, Robson will move further up the world rankings tomorrow, when she is expected to climb around 10 places. She has enjoyed a remarkable summer. Having reached her first WTA semi-final on clay in Palermo, she returned to Britain to win an Olympic silver medal alongside Andy Murray in the mixed doubles. At the US Open she beat two Grand Slam champions in succession, Kim Clijsters and Li Na, to become the first British woman for 21 years to reach the fourth round.

Robson had been due to play in Tokyo this week but had to withdraw because her success in China meant she was unable to play in the qualifying tournament. She will next play in the China Open in Beijing, and then in Osaka before returning to Europe, for a final appearance of the season in Moscow or Luxembourg.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee