By Ros Satar
Ana Ivanovic def Laura Robson 5-7, 6-2 7-6(5)
There was a lot at stake for British no. 1, Laura Robson, as she faced 16th seed Ana Ivanovic, after scoring a major upset in defeating 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
In a match of shifting momentum, Robson saved a match point, before a double-fault snatched a Premier quarter-final and the chance of a French Open seeding away.
It was hardly an auspicious start by either player, with two successive breaks and double-faults from both, before Robson held first to bring things back on serve.
After the initial nerves, play settled down, with Ivanovic really picking up the pace of her returns, and Robson letting fly with some blistering forehand winners into the corners of the court.
It was a good test of the Robson nerves after failing to take advantage of a break point at 3-4 to potentially serve for the first set, following it up with a confident hold to 15.
It took just one set point, on Ivanovic’s serve, to set the British no. 1 with a set lead over the 16th seed.
The second start started with three successive breaks as concentration seemed to desert both players.
The momentum, though, had shifted to the Serb, as she secured a double break cushion to lead Robson 4-1.
Robson did not hold one game in that set, losing it 6-2, with both her games coming from breaks, and taking things into a deciding set.
From 40-15 up, Robson squandered her chance to edge ahead, allowing Ivanovic to break back and keep things on serve at the start of the third.
A break for Robson and a hold to love put her one game away from a place in the quarter-finals, as Ivanovic dumped 3 returns into the net.
However, errors gave Ivanovic a reprieve as Robson failed to serve out the match at the first attempt at 5-3 up.
Ivanovic had clawed herself to 5-5 and a disastrous game by Robson with two double faults and a smash long put Ivanovic in the driving seat to lead 6-5.
Saving a match point gave fans hope, but the match was lost on a double-fault.
Oh Laura…. dare I say it… 137th double fault of 2013 hands the match to Ana Ivanovic…. Should have won the match, but will learn a lot
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) May 8, 2013
Robson split from her coach, Zeljko Krajan, after nine months, before the start of Madrid, but was watched by her doubles partner Lisa Raymond.
Picture Credit: fête_accompli via Commons.wikimedia.org