Laura Robson returned to court in Indian Wells after a minor set back in her recovery from a wrist injury. The former British number one faced a tough first round match against Magdalena Rybarikova. Coming into the match the two players were level in the head-to-head, with both picking up a victory.
Rybarikova Takes The First Set After A Tie-Break
Robson served first in the set, and got of to a good start by winning the opening two points. The game soon took a turn in the wrong direction for the British player, as she served four double faults in a row to gift Rybarikova the game.
After the early break of service, both players managed to hold their serves with ease. Neither Robson or Rybarikova lost more than two points on serve, with Robson managing to hold to love in the seventh game of the set. It was in the eighth game of the set, where the next break point opportunity arose. This time it went the way of Robson who battled back from 15-40 down to break Rybarikova's serve and level the score at 4-4.
The score was not level for long, as Rybarikova took her first break point opportunity in the ninth game to break Robson's serve and put herself level in the set once more. By breaking Robson's serve, the world number 97 had the chance to serve the set out. However, the Slovakian failed to capitalize on this and Robson broke straight back to keep herself in the set for a few more games.
Both players were struggling to win their service games, and the end of the set turned into a battle of the breaks. Rybarikova did not let the failure to serve the set out get to her and she quickly found herself with the opportunity to win the set again, after she broke Robson's serve to put herself 5-6 up.
Once again, the pressure of serving for the set got to Rybarikova and she was soon three break points down. The world number 97 battled hard to prevent Robson from capitalizing on two of the break points, but she could do nothing to stop Robson from taking the game on the third time of asking.
With the score level at 6-6, a tiebreaker was needed to determine the winner of the first set. Rybarikova gained a slight advantage in the tie break as she won a point off of Robson's serve. The Slovakian raced through the remainder of the tie break, losing just two more points and picking up another mini break along the way. After just under 55 minutes, Rybarikova took the first set, 7-6(3).
Early Break Costs Robson
Rybarikova came into the second set with all of the momentum. This showed as she raced to a 3-0 lead. Robson eventually got on to the board in the second set, as she held her second service game to love. The British player then had an opportunity to break Rybarikova back and put the set back on serve. However, she could not capitalize on this and Rybarikova went on to win the game and extend her lead to 4-1.
The former British number one went on to hold her service game straight after failing to break Rybarikova's serve. Robson would have been disappointed that she failed to capitalize on her opportunity to break, as the score would have been level, instead she soon found herself three games behind her opponent and needing to serve to stay in the set.
When serving for the set, Robson soon found herself 0-40 down. The pressure to serve to keep herself alive in the match clearly got to Robson, and Rybarikova pounced on this. The Slovakian only needed one of the three break point opportunities that she had, taking the match on the first time of asking. Although Rybarikova was too strong for Robson today, there is no doubt that the British player will be able to take some positives from the match.
After winning todays match, Rybarikova advances into the second round, where she will face Daria Gavrilova.
Rybarikova was the more consistent player when serving, hitting 4 aces and two double faults. Robson only hit one ace and 8 double faults, four of which came in the very first game of the match.
Robson had a slightly higher first serving percentage than Rybarikova but both players were above average. Robson got 56 percent of her first serves in, where as Rybarikova only got 50 percent in.
A key factor in the match was break points. Rybarikova capitalized on all but one of her break point opportunities, winning five out of six of them. Whereas Robson capitalized on just half of her break point opportunities, winning three out of six.