Simona Halep def. Heather Watson 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
It seemed like a task and a half for the girl from Guernsey as Simona Halep as been ripping up a storm his year, winning four titles including the New Haven title, the week before the US Open.
Watson could not have started any stronger – breaking Halep, but was broken straight back – perhaps showing a bit of rustiness as errors just crept into her game.
Halep was being pushed at times so far out of the court, she was barely in camera shot, and Watson was getting plenty of mileage from wrong footing the Romanian, and it would be another wasted chance as Watson squandered another break advantage but she was able to put that aside, to break Halep to take the first set.
Halep took a long break at the end of the first set but it did not seem to disrupt Watson’s rhythm. But it would be a frustrated Halep who took things out on her racquet, and got the eventual break through in the second set but again the par traded breaks.
Halep was really letting her frustration show – and what Watson needed to do was engage Halep in long rallies. But it would be sixth Watson double fault that put Halep in the driving seat to take things into a decider.
The early break went to Halep and as Watson found herself 0-3 down thanks to a break to love, it would be a long way back for the British No. 2, which she started by getting one of the breaks back. It was small comfort though, as Watson looked to be cramping up towards the end of the match.
Watson was able to salvage one more hold, but the Romanian made no mistake as she came out to serve for the match under the floodlights on Court 11. Halep by now was struggling herself with cramp and it will have come as a relief to have won
As disappointing as it will be for Watson to have lost here, there are plenty of positives to take from this match, compared against some of her earlier matches since Wimbledon. Her movement and shot selection were good, and her double-faults seemed to be as a symptom of working on a much more aggressive serve. She was handy at the net tonight – more of the influence of Jeremy Bates – here’e hoping that it is a training partnership that can reap benefits.