Robson, 15, wins hearts but loses battle at Wimbledon
Robson, last year’s junior champion, had her opponent on the rack after taking the first set and moving a break ahead in the second. Nerves took their toll on the left-hander, however, and her serve unravelled to allow Hantuchova to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
It was a performance of bravery and chutzpah, though, marking Robson’s grand slam debut in style. And the Australia-born youngster rightly took a clutch of positives from her senior Wimbledon bow.
“I’m a little bit upset, but I’m pretty proud of myself,” said Robson. “I thought I played really, really well for a good part of the match, and then in the end just a couple things let me down a bit.”
More than a dozen double faults played a huge part in the teenager’s downfall, not least the two in succession that cost her the second set.
She added: “That probably had something to do with the whole atmosphere and all the nerves and everything. I hit a couple more double faults than I would have liked to, especially on the big points.”
Hantuchova – ranked 32nd in the world, some 456 places above Robson – did not enjoy her rough ride. The Slovakian said: “It didn’t feel very good being a set down and a couple games down and getting kicked by a girl 11 years younger than me.”
Other British hopefuls had a mixed first day at the All England Club.
Melanie South narrowly lost 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) to France’s Mathilde Johansson, and James Ward was steamrolled by seventh seed Fernando Verdasco.
But Josh Goodall and Georgie Stoop are still in the hunt for shock wins – their matches, against Michael Llodra and No7 seed Vera Zvonareva respectively, will both resume today at one set each.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer began his challenge for a sixth men’s singles title with an emphatic victory over Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu. In the women’s draw former champions Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams were made to work hard for wins over Viktoriya Kutuzova and Neuza Silva.