Three hours: How long it took for Murray to be sole Brit at Oz Open

Frank Dalleres
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BRITISH tennis No1 Laura Robson refused to blame a recent wrist injury for her first-round exit at the Australian Open on a sorry day for the nation’s female stars at the year’s first grand slam.

Less than three hours into the opening day Andy Murray was the only Briton left in the tournament, after Robson’s compatriot Heather Watson also failed to progress to the second round.

Robson looked far short of her best in a 6-3, 6-0 defeat to Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens that lasted less than an hour. It was the 19-year-old’s first full match of 2014 following wrist problems in her racket hand, yet she played down the injury’s impact.

“I prefer not to talk about my wrist because then it’s just going to become this massive excuse and whatnot,” said Robson.

“Really, she just played better than me.”

Watson, by contrast, pushed 31st seed Daniela Hantuchova hard in an epic contest before succumbing 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. It means the 21-year-old is set to fall out of the world’s top 150 and be forced to play tournaments on the second-tier ITF tour.

She said: “Sometimes it’s a good thing playing a bit lower down, winning matches and gaining confidence, and I think that’s what I need.”