Robson and Murray Just Fall Short
Great Britain's Laura Robson and Andy Murray playing mixed doubles in the final
Perth, AUSTRALIA--Britain has a lot to look forward to in the new NTT season. Andy Murray, the reigning Wimbledon champion and his up and coming British partner Laura Robson went into the Hopman Cup with little expectations. This was Laura's first event in the NTT circuit, and it looked as if Murray would be the one carrying the team. Instead, Robson and Murray stormed into the final before they finally lost to a red-hot Croatia team.
"Playing this year in the Hopman Cup, it was the first time Britain has been in the competition for such a long time, and I feel as though we did the country proud. This is such an important year for me to play well, trying to back up the Wimbledon title as the defending champion, and this was a great start," Murray said after the match.
Beginning the tournament, Laura Robson looked outmatched by the United States' Serena Williams and France's Alize Cornet. Both ladies played so tremendously well and look to be threats in the beginning of the season. Laura's forehand and serve were good, but were no match for the tremendous athleticism and power of Williams nor the quickness and agility of Cornet.
"Playing Serena and Alize gave me a bit of a wake up call to see how I should play the remainder of the season. I'm jumping up from the juniors and playing women's events for the first time, so it's a nice place to start. There's no consequences losing here, and I felt as though I've played well the whole event. The next two matches gave me my turn around," Laura said in her post match interview with the British press.
And turn around she did, as she then beat Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Karolina Sprem of Croatia in straight sets, wiping them off of the court. Her smooth all-court game was clicking and she set up Great Britain for a potential women's Grand Slam champion.
Andy Murray's tournament went very well, as he went undefeated against Andy Roddick, Gilles Simon, and Lleyton Hewitt during the group play. He went three sets with Roddick winning 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, and then destroyed Simon and Hewitt in two sets, defeating Hewitt 6-1, 6-0. Murray looked in ominous form, as if he was going to be able to defend his Wimbledon title in 6 months time.
The Croatia-Great Britain final was going to be a cracker, seeing as though all four competitors were in form heading into the match, and the mixed doubles pairings just could not be beat at all on either team. Laura and Karolina opened the affair with and Murray seemingly relaxed. Ancic was down 2-5 in the first set and came back to win it 7-5, Murray would take the second set 6-4, and Murray just couldn't break the awesome serve of the Croatian.
Murray reacts after losing match point against Mario Ancic of Croatia
In the mixed doubles, Murray and Robson again built a huge lead and against the Croatians, and again Ancic staged a comeback and he and Sprem took the opening set 7-5. The second set was dominated and closed out by Britain 6-2, but again the Brits squandered a lead in a set at 6-5 in the final set and Croatia won the tie 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(5) and 2 matches to 1.
"I think the biggest thing that we learned is that we have to close out these matches. There were so many chances for us to get ahead and take the match," Robson said standing next to Murray. "The crowd was very supportive, and it helped that I was born in Melbourne. Hopefully, the rest of this Australian series will be good for me. Looking back at the experience, it can only help as I prepare my strategy for the rest of the season."