Doha Main-Draw Debut Ends in Defeat for Robson
By Ros Satar
Daniela Hantuchova def Laura Robson 6-4 6-1
On a breezy evening in Doha, the euphoria of helping Aegon GB into the Fed Cup World Group play-offs must have seemed a distant memory as Laura Robson could not find the answers to match Daniela Hantuchova.
Hantuchova, who has fallen down the rankings to 30 places below Robson looked to be the sharper of the two in the first set, cracking down two aces in her first two points and closing out the first set convincingly.
Both players had been on Fed Cup duty the week before, and the workload of a Group tie with a later than expected finish showed, as Robson suffered coughing fits and at times looked listless and frustrated.
There were times, though, when the British number two was able to swing freely and wallop winners off both wings, as her back was against the wall.
But it just was not consistent enough on the day.
The first set was more competitive as the pair traded breaks early on, before settling down until the seventh game.
Robson clawed back three break-points and defended a fourth before Hantuchova broke for a 4-3 lead, eventually taking the set with a love service game.
The second set ran away from Robson at quite a pace, with a break before the first change of ends for the Slovakian.
A double break cushion soon followed off the back of Robson’s fourth double fault of the match, as the game approached the hour.
Again, digging deep, Robson pushed Hantuchova to save three break points, the last of which she despatched with her sixth ace to lead 5-1.
Sadly, on her Doha main draw debut, Robson was broken, as Hantuchova needed just the one match point to advance.