Canadian qualifier dumps Robson out in Charleston
Laura Robson is guaranteed to become the British No. 1 when the new rankings are released on Monday, but she will not assume her new status in style after a poor second round defeat to Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard at the Family Circle Cup on Wednesday.
Robson's first-round win ensured she will leapfrog current British No. 1 Heather Watson - who has been diagnosed with Glandular Fever. However, she would certainly have expected to beat world No. 114 Bouchard, who claimed a surprise 6-4 3-6 6-1 victory.
Robson only had herself to blame. Her serve was once again less than reliable - coughing up eight double-faults in the match, and her first-serve percentage fell below 60 per cent - offering Bouchard constant avenues to attack.
In a contest of two 19-year-olds separated by 72 places in the rankings, Robson's level simply was not good enough. She was on the defensive for the majority of the match, and her head-to-head with Bouchard now stands at 0-2.
The Brit was forced to save three break points in her opening service game, before converting her first chance on the Bouchard delivery for a 2-1 lead. However, she had to save more break points in the next game and eventually ceded her advantage when Bouchard broke at the ninth time of asking for 3-3.
Robson immediately restored her lead at 4-3 but Bouchard hit back before holding for 5-4. That left Robson to serve to stay in the set, which she failed to manage after two untimely double-faults.
It appeared the left-hander might stamp her authority in the second when she broke in the opening game and added to it for 4-1. Operating at that stage with a 90% first-serves-in ratio, Robson powered through to level the match and force a decider.
However, after an early exchange of breaks in the third, Bouchard made the decisive move to advance to 5-1. Robson failed to find a reply and suffered a defeat that barely represents the type of progress she would like in the week that she - in name at least - returns to the top of British women's tennis.
Elsewhere, No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki required exactly an hour to see off Silvia Soler-Espinosa 6-1 6-1. Wozniacki converted all five break points in a clinical display.
The No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki was shocked by American qualifier Mallory Burdette, who won 3-6 7-6(5) 7-5. The world No. 99 was aided by ten double-faults from Lisicki in a match that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours.
Sam Stosur, Julia Goerges, Andrea Petkovic, Lucie Safarova and Madison Keys also progressed.