By Philip James
In 2012 the HP Japan Open in Osaka saw Heather Watson become the first British woman to win a WTA Singles title since 1988.
This year however, the tournament saw both Watson and Laura Robson make disappointing first round exits.
Watson, who has been desperately struggling for form for most of the year anyway, received a tough first round draw against eighth seed Monica Puig and lost yesterday, 6-4 6-4.
Robson received a wildcard entry to the tournament and though was still seventh was drawn against veteran-player and home favourite Kimiko Date-Krumm.
Twenty-four years her senior, and ranked only 12 places lower, Krumm beat the British number one 6-4 6-4 to lead their head-to-heads 2-1.
After dropping the first set, Robson fought back in the second, eliminating the double faults and making better inroads on her opponent’s serve but it was not enough to earn the win.
While Robson is battling to maintain her top 50 status, this loss for Watson will see her slip down, most likely out of the top 130 and relinquish her place as British number two to Johanna Konta.