By Ros Satar

  • Katarina Bondarenko def. Heather Watson 6-3 0-6 6-1
  • Alexander Zverev [8] def. Kyle Edmund 5-7 7-5 ret’d

NICE/STRASBOURG, FRANCE – the last minute tune-up plans of Heather Watson and Kyle Edmund suffered setbacks as they both exited in their respective opening round in the main draw.

Watson had ploughed through qualifying in Rome last week to notch up a win against the 14th seeded Sara Errani before bowing out eventual semi-finalist Barbora Strycova, but she could not maintain that form in Strasbourg.

She certainly started with intent, putting Bondarenko under pressure, forcing the Ukrainian to save a couple of break points from the off, but in a tight first set, it was Bondarenko who struck first towards the end of the set, breaking and then serving it out for the first set.

That spurred Watson into action as she roared through the second set, denying Bondarenko a chance to get on the board, but with the momentum firmly with her, play was interrupted for a lengthy spell by the rain.

Bondarenko responded the better to the delay breaking Watson three times after they split the first couple of games. Watson still hovers precariously around the Olympic cut-off, so a run past her block of the second round of the French Open would be welcome.

Of more concern might be Edmund, who came through a couple of challenging qualifying rounds in Nice, and landed with a first round against German wunderkind Alexander Zverev, seeded eighth. The German broke him in the first game, but Edmund snapped straight back at him, and the pair remained locked until Edmund took his chances to break Zverev for the first set.

Things were no less competitive in the second set until Edmund took a heavy fall as Zverev was serving to level at 3-4, and after a lengthy medical time-out, Edmund came back out to continue, but it was clear he was hampered in his movement.


However injuries to opponents can be a funny thing and Zverev seemed to struggle, and somehow Edmund broke straight back. Zverev pulled himself together to break again, this time decisively to serve out the set.

After a short period of time, Edmund did the sensible thing and retired. Last year he battled his way through qualifying for the French Open and came through a tough five-setter against Stephane Robert, before having to withdraw before his second round match with Nick Kyrgios with injury.

Both Watson and Edmund will be in the main draw of Roland Garros, which starts on 22 May.

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