LAURA Robson suffered a straight-sets defeat to world No 1 seed Serena Williams, who avenged the defeat of her sister by the Briton in the Internazionali d’Italia in Rome.
Robson had put Venus Williams out of the tournament, breaking serve six times to win 6-3, 6-2, but lost 6-2, 6-2 last night despite getting off to a great start. Robson broke her opponent’s serve to take the first game but Williams broke straight back to level at 1-1, taking full advantage of some poor serving. Williams won the next despite facing another break point, a good first serve and a thumping forehand winner helping her hold.
A double fault by Robson to open the next saw her go on to lose the game when she failed to hold a second break point and with just 20 minutes gone Williams powered into a 4-1 lead.
Robson served two aces to make it 4-2 but two straight games were enough to give Williams the first set 6-2 in just over half an hour. Despite being taken to deuce Williams won the first game of the second set, the first four games going with serve before an ace helped Williams save a break point to lead 3-2 before edging out to 4-2.
A netted forehand return by Robson in game seven saw her needing to serve to stay in the match but that was beyond her as Williams broke again to wrap up a comfortable win.
Earlier, Caroline Wozniacki’s miserable run on clay continued as she was beaten 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) by Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski.
Dane Wozniacki, who was watched by boyfriend Rory McIlroy, has now lost three successive first-round matches and failed to convert a third-set lead into victory despite Jovanovski shedding tears at one point because of a left-thigh injury.
Eighth seed Petra Kvitova survived a topsy-turvy clash with fellow big-hitter Sabine Lisicki despite failing to win a game in the second set, the Czech eventually coming through 6-4 0-6 7-5.
Madrid semi-finalist Ana Ivanovic did go out, though, the 15th seed losing 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 to Urszula Radwanska.
American Sloane Stephens had not won a match since Miami in May so a 6-3 6-3 victory over Flavia Pennetta was very welcome for the 16th seed, while there were also wins for Maria Kirilenko, Roberta Vinci and Dominika Cibulkova.
Men’s world No 1 Novak Djokovic moved smoothly into the third round with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Albert Montanes.
It was just what the Serbian needed after his early exit in Madrid last week and, although Montanes briefly led by a break early on, there were no real alarms for the top seed.
Djokovic’s Madrid conqueror was rising star Grigor Dimitrov, but there were no heroics from the young Bulgarian yesterday as he lost out 6-4, 6-4 to French ninth seed Richard Gasquet.
Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Haas, seeded 12th and 13th respectively, were first-round casualties.
Almagro lost out 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 to France’s Julien Benneteau, with Haas, one of the players of 2013 so far, going down 6-4, 6-3 against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.
Meanwhile, there will be no third-round meeting between Madrid champion Rafael Nadal and his Wimbledon conqueror Lukas Rosol after the Czech lost in three sets to Viktor Troicki.