Robson denied by Hantuchova fightback
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:35
Robson, who won the girls’ singles title at the All England Club 12 months ago as a 14-year-old, was given a wild card into the main draw this year and looked to face a tough task against former quarter-finalist Daniela Hantuchova.
But she marked the opening of the new Court Two in style by taking the first set 6-3 and leading 3-2 with a break in the second, before Hantuchova fought back to win 3-6 6-4 6-2.
A number of double faults at crucial times proved Robson’s undoing, but the 15-year-old acquitted herself well and can now concentrate on retaining her junior title.
After HRH the Duke of Kent officially opened the court, Robson won the toss, elected to serve and promptly sent down an ace to signal her intent. She raced into a 3-0 lead and then held her nerve as Hantuchova briefly threatened a fightback, eventually serving out for the set after 38 minutes.
Hantuchova may be ranked 32nd in the world but she is not known for her mental toughness, and in some ways was actually an ideal opponent for Robson. The teenager was certainly showing fewer signs of nerves than her more illustrious opponent and broke Hantuchova for a 3-2 lead in the second set.
A backhand error and a double fault gifted Hantuchova the break straight back however, and she began to show glimpses of the tennis which once saw her ranked fifth in the world.
Two more double faults in a row from Robson then gifted Hantuchova another break in the 10th game, and with it the second set 6-4.
Robson was furious with herself for those double faults and a debatable line call, and had more reason to be unhappy midway through a tense decider. After the first five games had gone with serve, Robson dumped an easy backhand into the net and then served another costly double fault to give Hantuchova the break and a 4-2 lead.
Hantuchova then held serve to lead 5-2 and although Robson saved a match point on her own serve with an ace, yet another double fault two points later sealed her fate as Hantuchova completed a hard-fought victory