Robson beaten by Ivanovic after serving for the match
Laura Robson's excellent run at the Mutua Madrid Open came to an end on Wednesday as she lost to former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, having had the opportunity to serve for the match.
Robson knocked out world No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska in her previous outing, representing one of the biggest wins of her career. But she choked at the vital moment against Ivanovic, failing to close out the match at 5-3 before suffering a 5-7 6-2 7-6(5) defeat.
A tie with world No. 6 Angelique Kerber awaited in the quarter-finals, but it will be Ivanovic who contests it after she made a quick start to Wednesday's late encounter, creating three break points in the opening game - the last of which she converted.
Robson poses her own threat when receiving and she needed only the one break-back chance to level immediately at 1-1. Ranked 25 places behind her rival, the Brit clearly enjoyed the slower pace of the clay as she held her own to reach 6-5 on serve before breaking to snatch the opening set.
The second started in the same manner as the first, with the Robson serve immediately penetrated before she responded to get back on terms at 1-1. However, this time the Serb maintained her aggression to break three more times and level the match at a set apiece as Robson's serve began to falter - coughing up four double-faults.
Encouragingly for the Brit's future, she was largely the better player in open play and stole into a rapid 2-0 advantage - breaking to love - at the start of the deciding set. However, an instinctive backhand from Ivanovic converted a break-back point as the scores moved to 2-2.
By contrast to the second stanza, it was Robson dictating the tempo of the match and she pressed ahead again at 4-2, with Ivanovic winning just one of 11 points on second serve. The Brit then had the chance to serve out for the match at 5-3, only to choke before being broken again.
It was Ivanovic's turn to close out the match at 6-5 but this time Robson dug in, breaking to love to force a match-deciding tiebreaker. With both players contributing a total of ten double-faults in the final set the outcome was a lottery, but it eventually went the way of Ivanovic.