Woe for Robson in Guangzhou final
Britain's long wait for a singles winner of a women's event goes on, as a valiant Laura Robson was beaten in three sets by Su-wei Hsieh in the final of the Guangzhou Open.
In stifling heat, Robson had her chances as she was a break up in all three sets but consistency escaped her and Hsieh was able to battle back for a 6-3 5-7 6-4 win.
Sara Gomer was the last British winner of a tournament back in 1988 but Robson had high hopes of snapping that record, having beaten the No. 2, No. 3, and No. 7 seeds on her way to the final, but she did not match those highs in the final.
The serve has been a problem during Robson's fledgling career and that was in evidence in the final as 11 double faults were sent down and it meant she was often on the back foot in games.
Robson started well with a tough opening hold and then broke through courtesy of a fine drive volley.
Hsieh proved her resilience in the following game as she broke through after passing up a string of chances. Robson was broken again in the sixth game and she was seen shaking her left arm which had heavy strapping on the shoulder.
An epic eighth game saw Robson fend off a string of set points to hold. Having passed up a host of chances, Hsieh had every opportunity to wilt but she closed out the set - having worked set point with a superb lob followed by a drop shot.
Robson came through a tough service hold in the opening game of the second set and as in the first, she broke serve. The revival was short-lived, as Hsieh broke back immediately and did so again in the following game - clinching the break with a backhand return that landed flush on the baseline.
Robson snapped the run of losing games when holding in the seventh and she saved five championship points to hold in the ninth. The hold, which was a mix of brilliant play from Robson and woeful finishing from Hsieh, led to a shift in momentum as Robson broke twice in a row to level the contest.
There was a sizeable wait for the final set to begin, with the players given a break on account of the intense heat. Robson did not let the halt in play affect her as she held and then broke Hsieh to lead 2-0 for the third set in a row. Hsieh had the opportunity to break back immediately but Robson fended off break points and it deflated the woman from Chinese Taipei who looked fatigued. A seventh ace of the match helped take Robson into a 3-0 lead but she was hunched over her racket a couple of games later as Hsieh brought the match back on serve.
The break saw the momentum shift back Hsieh's way, this time decisively. Robson's movement was restricted and Hsieh, who looked down and out a few games previous, suddenly had a spring in her step and the crowd behind her.
A love service hold took Hsieh to the brink of victory and unlike the second set, she held her nerve - and her serve - to clinch the title.