Sharapova too strong for brave Robson

31 July 2012 / 18:55

Laura Robson's Olympic tennis singles campaign was brought to an end in the second round by Maria Sharapova despite a hugely impressive display by the 18-year-old under the Centre Court roof.

Robson, who will play in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray, traded blow for blow with the third seed in the first set in particular before going down 7-6 (7/5) 6-3.

The Londoner clearly went into the match as a big underdog but Sharapova would have been well aware of the threat she posed, having narrowly beaten the teenager by the same scoreline in the second round of Wimbledon last year.

Since then Robson has climbed into the world's top 100 and on Monday beat top-30 player Lucie Safarova to seal her spot in the second round.

She certainly possesses the power to match Sharapova, which is no mean feat, and she took the game to her illustrious opponent from the start.

Robson had a chance to break in the fourth game but could not take it, and Sharapova moved ahead in the next. But the Russian faltered serving at 4-3, sending down a double fault on break point and allowing Robson to level, to the delight of the patriotic crowd.

Chants of "Laura, Laura" rang around the arena as Robson twice held serve to force a tie-break, and she recovered from a double fault on the opening point to lead 3-1.

But a mark of how well Robson was playing was that Sharapova's level was extremely high, and she kept her nerve to set up set point, which she took with a searing return.

The British number three needed a good start to the second set but Sharapova really had the bit between her teeth now and although Robson saved three break points, she could not save a fourth.

That made it 2-0 to the third seed but Robson dug in and broke back for 3-4, only to lose her serve again immediately - and this time there was no way back.