Robson makes early exit

Hampshire Chronicle: Great Britain's Laura Robson lost in the first round of the Australian Open Great Britain's Laura Robson lost in the first round of the Australian Open

Laura Robson's Australian Open lasted less than hour as she was comprehensively beaten in the first round by 18th seed Kirsten Flipkens.

The British number one came into the tournament without having completed a match this season because of a left wrist injury and it showed.

Robson's wrist did not seem to bother her during the 50 minutes Belgian Flipkens took to beat her 6-3 6-0 but she looked rusty and her movement was sluggish.

It took Robson 10 points to get on the board, earning a big cheer from the crowd on Court Three, who were behind the Australia-born teenager.

Flipkens was much more reliable in every department but Robson at least put her bad start behind her with three successive holds of serve before her opponent broke again to clinch the opening set.

From there things simply got worse for the 19-year-old, who made 32 unforced errors in the match compared to 12 winners.

The result will be a big blow to Robson, who reached the third round in Melbourne last year and has established a reputation for upsetting seeds in grand slams.

Robson had the dubious honour of being the first player to exit this year's tournament, and she was understandably grim-faced when discussing her performance.

She said: "It took me a couple of games to actually win a point so it couldn't really have got any worse. But it was up and down the whole time, and I don't think I ever really got into a rhythm at all. I wasn't really able to deal with her slice that well. It just didn't go well.

"The support was great. It's amazing how many people turned up. I'm just sorry I didn't play better for them."

Robson was coy about the state of her wrist, saying: "I prefer not to talk about my wrist because then it's just going to become this massive excuse and whatnot. Really, she just played better than me."

The teenager felt a lack of match practice had counted against her.

She said: "Practice is a lot different to playing a proper match in slams. So I would have loved to have had some more points beforehand, but that's what happens sometimes. I definitely expected to play better but it happens. And I didn't really have any expectations going in because I didn't know what it was going to be like out there."

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