Australian Open 2015: GB's Katie Swan loses girls' final

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
Playing final was amazing - Katie Swan

Britain's Katie Swan missed out on a junior Grand Slam title as she lost the Australian Open girls' final to Slovakia's Tereza Mihalikova.

The 15-year-old from Bristol struggled with a leg injury during a 6-1 6-4 defeat on Rod Laver Arena.

Swan was hoping to become the first Briton to win the title since Annabel Croft in 1984.

She joins compatriot Laura Robson as a girls' runner-up in Australia, with Robson making the 2009 and 2010 finals.

Robson sent her a message of support before the final, and Swan has tickets for the women's final to see her favourite player Maria Sharapova take on Serena Williams.

"It's actually been crazy," said Swan, who relocated to Kansas two years ago because of her father's work.

"There have been so many people that sent me messages, tweeting, Facebook, Instagram.

"Everybody has been so supportive from my home in England and Wichita, Kansas. It's been amazing.

"Obviously my best tournament I've ever played. I'm really pleased with the way I've been playing this week. I hope that there are a lot more tournaments like this for me."

Swan had reached the final with a dramatic win over Hungary's Dalma Galfi in which she saved three match points and suffered with cramp, requiring lengthy treatment after the match on Friday.

British girls' champions at Australian Open
1975: Sue Barker
1982: Amanda Brown
1983: Amanda Brown
1984: Annabel Croft

She could not rediscover her form on a windy Saturday afternoon at Melbourne Park, making 30 unforced errors as she lost in one hour and 29 minutes.

Mihalikova, 16, came through two tight early service games to dominate the opening set, making twice the Briton's winners with 14.

There was a hint of a comeback when Swan dug in to save a set point and hold serve at 5-0 down, then, after losing the opening set, she moved 3-0 clear in the second.

However, a leg injury forced her off court for a medical timeout and she could not pick up where she left off.

"I actually started to feel my groin at the middle of the first set, and then it got worse and worse throughout," Swan explained.

"I didn't have much time to recover from yesterday, so that's part of it."

Mihalikova moved to within a game of victory before Swan saved two match points and broke the Slovak's serve as she served for the title.

Swan's own serve was now vulnerable, though, and Mihalikova cracked away a forehand winner on her third match point for a deserved victory.

The Briton will now return home to the United States for a training block before playing her first senior tournaments next month on the second-tier ITF circuit.

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