2016 Aegon International

Robson retires in qualifiers

British #7 throws in white flag against Brengle

© DAVID PURDAY/PHCIMAGES.COM

Laura Robson’s Eastbourne visit, like last season’s comeback, was sadly short-lived after the former British #1 retired injured.

The 22-year-old was playing fantastic tennis against American Madison Brengle, but had to concede defeat because of her right thigh injury trailing 6-4 1-0.

Robson, who has slipped down the world rankings to outside the top 300 following 17 months off the WTA Tour because of wrist injuries, was again heavily strapped up to compete.

The London 2012 Mixed Doubles silver medalist had been fortunate to scrape past China’s Yifan Xu in straight set 7-5 7-6(4) encouraged by a patriotic jam-packed No.1 Court.

She has stuttered on her serve, giving away easy points with 10 double faults.

Yet against Brengle, who has zoomed into last week’s Ricoh Open semi-final in Holland before being pulled apart by compatriot CoCo Vandeweghe, Robson’s dodgy serve was patched up.

A close run opening set saw Brengle edge ahead, thanks to solid hitting and a handful of unforced errors by the Londoner.

And into the second set Robson was obviously finding it tricky to pace around the court, unable to give Brengle a proper contest. So it came as no surprise that Robson withdrew from injury.

Devonshire Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Australian-born Robson. She was destroyed last year in her comeback match and last month in a lower tier tournament failed in her first match.

Having won here yesterday, albeit against a player who only came in as a last-gasp replacement for American Christina McHale, Robson’s confidence was soaring.

Had she seen off Brengle, and on the showing from their opening set that was possible, then she would have gained a place in the main draw of the Aegon International.

She was also a wildcard entry at Devonshire Park last term, but suffered a humiliating defeat due to arguably her worst ever performance on the Tour. Her reversal at the hands of rising star Daria Gavrilova in the qualifiers resulted in ridicule and has set back her plans to return to the world’s top 50.

Yet picking up a win against Xu and showing grit and promise against Brengle means that Robson will enter Wimbledon as a wildcard in a much better frame of mind.

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