By Michael Stafford-Jones

  • Sam Stosur [7] beats Heather Watson 7-5 6-3
  • Second consecutive first-round singles loss for the Brit
  • Defeat may hamper Watson’s Rio Olympics preparations
  • Naomi Broady weathered the weather for a 6-3 4-6 6-2 win over Monica Puig
MONTREAL, CANADA – Sam Stosur capitalised on a patchy showing from Heather Watson to win in straight sets.

 

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Sam Stosur [7] defeats Heather Watson 7-5 6-3

An inconsistent display from Heather Watson helped experienced Australian Sam Stosur beat her 7-5 6-3 in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

It was the second match scheduled on Court Central, but numerous lengthy rain delays meant it started around five hours later than expected.

Facing two break points in the opening game, Stosur made an early statement of intent by serving two aces in a row. Watson had fashioned her opportunity well, but the Australian gave her no chance to capitalise and went on to hold. Stosur saved another break point in her second service game with a big serve.

The fourth game of the opening set was like watching the whole match in miniature, with Watson fighting hard to hold serve and combat Stosur’s power but ultimately falling short.

The Brit saved four break points with good, well-placed serves and another with an excellent backhand into the corner which set up a forehand winner. However, the Australian number one took the sixth when Watson hit a forehand long.

Down 5-2 in the first set, Watson made a spirited comeback by increasing the accuracy of her serves and groundstrokes and taking advantage of a lacklustre service game from Stosur to retrieve the break.

However, with the set back on serve at 5-6, Watson played three poor points to slide to 0-40. She saved one set point with an ace, then another with some aggressive groundstrokes. But she undid all her hard work when she served a double fault to gift Stosur the first set. The Brit slammed her racket into the court in disgust.

The match ran away from Watson in the much-shorter second set. Both players served poorly and five consecutive breaks happened as a result. Crucially, the British number two surrendered serve three times and went 4-2 behind.

Stosur held to love to make it 5-2, but one point during the game stood out as Watson showcased all of her defensive skills to make a rally last 21 shots even though she was on the back foot the whole time. The crowd roared their appreciation when it was over.

The Brit then played arguably her best service game of the match (full of controlled aggression) to also hold to love. However, it was too little, too late, as Stosur turned an even game in her favour when she demonstrated great reactions to hit a smash into the open court after the ball jumped up off the top of the net. That set up match point, and a forehand error from Watson sealed the win for the Australian, who will play either Daria Kasatkina or Misaki Doi in round two.

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