Brit hopes on Murray as pommies bashed

Updated: 16 January 2012 19:17 IST

Andy Murray was the last Briton standing after a humiliating first day for the nation at the Australian Open on Monday when five players failed to win a single set.

Melbourne:

Andy Murray was the last Briton standing after a humiliating first day for the nation at the Australian Open on Monday when five players failed to win a single set.

First to fall was Heather Watson, demolished 6-1, 6-0 by third seed Victoria Azarenka, before qualifier James Ward went down 4-6, 3-6, 4-6 to Slovakia's Blaz Kavcic.

Elena Baltacha was next to exit, losing 2-6, 4-6 to France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon, with qualifier Laura Robson crashing out to Serbia's Jelena Jankovic 2-6, 0-6.

Anne Keothavong completed the sorry tale for the British, retiring after losing the first set 0-6 against Germany's Mona Barthel.

It leaves just men's fourth seed Andy Murray to fly the flag for Britain, a nation desperate to end decades of failure in grand slams. The Scot starts his bid for a first major on Tuesday against America's Ryan Harrison.

But Robson, 17, played down the spate of poor results, saying they looked particularly bad because so many players had appeared on Monday.

"It just so happened that we all played on the same day. If some of the girls played tomorrow then we wouldn't be saying that," she said.

"Everyone obviously tried their best and Heather played Azarenka today who was on great form, so that was a tough draw for her, and had food poisoning.

"I'm not trying to make excuses for all of us but I just think that it's not a disaster."

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