Sharapova too strong for Robson
Laura Robson's Olympic singles campaign was brought to an end in the second round by Maria Sharapova on Tuesday.
Robson's campaign was brought to an end despite a hugely impressive display by the 18-year-old under the Centre Court roof.
Robson, who will play in the mixed doubles with Andy Murray, traded blow for blow with the third seed in the first set in particular before going down 7-6 (7/5) 6-3.
The Londoner clearly went into the match as a big underdog but Sharapova would have been well aware of the threat she posed, having narrowly beaten the teenager by the same scoreline in the second round of Wimbledon last year.
Since then Robson has climbed into the world's top 100 and yesterday beat top-30 player Lucie Safarova to seal her spot in the second round.
She certainly possesses the power to match Sharapova, which is no mean feat, and she took the game to her illustrious opponent from the start.
Robson had a chance to break in the fourth game but could not take it, and Sharapova moved ahead in the next.
But the Russian faltered serving at 4-3, sending down a double fault on break point and allowing Robson to level, to the delight of the patriotic crowd.
Chants of "Laura, Laura" rang around the arena as Robson twice held serve to force a tie-break, and she recovered from a double fault on the opening point to lead 3-1.
But a mark of how well Robson was playing was that Sharapova's level was extremely high, and she kept her nerve to set up set point, which she took with a searing return.
The British number three needed a good start to the second set but Sharapova really had the bit between her teeth now and although Robson saved three break points, she could not save a fourth.
That made it 2-0 to the third seed but Robson dug in and broke back for 3-4, only to lose her serve again immediately - and this time there was no way back.
Robson took little comfort from her performance, instead ruing the opportunities that went begging.
She said: "Right now it's much more disappointment. I definitely had chances. I'm pretty sure it's the same score as last time I played her but today I felt it was much closer on her service games every time. I think she played a lot better than last time."
Robson also felt the surface, which has cut up badly around the baseline, did not help her at the end of the crucial first-set tie-break.
The teenager said: "At 5-5 she hit a serve that bounced a bit funny so I was already a bit gone with that one. Then I hit a pretty solid serve and her return just died.
"But it happens on grass courts, especially when they're really worn, like Centre is at the moment."
Heather Watson followed Robson out of the tournament as she lost 6-3 6-2 to another Russian, 14th seed Maria Kirilenko.
Watson was far from her best throughout and, after the first four games went with serve, she lost three in a row including two breaks for her opponent.
Watson broke back for 5-3 to fire up the home crowd, but Kirilenko roared straight back to break again and clinch the set.
Kirilenko won the first three games of the second set and from there Watson never recovered.