By Amanda Barlow
- Annika Beck def. Heather Watson 6-3 0-6 12-10
WIMBLEDON, UK – British No. 2 Heather Watson lost a mammoth final set in the first round, to bow out of Wimbledon 2016.
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Watson had started very strongly on the first day of her match, in a run of tournaments affected by bad weather. Breaking the German’s serve before the first change of ends, she never looked close to relinquishing her early lead.
Watson was calling the shots putting the German under pressure, but failed to covert on four break points in the next two games before finally break her once more for the first set.
There, however, it started to unravel for the Brit, as Beck broke right at the start of the second set and kept the pressure on, breaking twice more and denying Watson a chance to get on the board.
There was drama to follow as a slip at the start of the third set as Beck led with a break saw a lengthy medical time out for a twisted ankle, before the rains came and suspended any more play for the day.
Beck wasted no time in jumping out to a 4-1 lead on the restart, but Watson put up a solid fight to level at 4-4 with the pair trading breaks on the way to the finale.
Watson had three match points against Beck’s serve at 9-10 but the German pulled them back, breaking Watson in the next game to edge the lead before closing the match out with two match points of her own.
Talking to the BBC, Watson said: “I wasn’t pleased with the match in general, how I played. And obviously having match points in the match, not being able to win here at Wimbledon, is the worst. I take losses badly anyway, but this is one of the worst.”
“I feel that I’m a lot better player than this, but my ranking doesn’t lie,” she continued. “I’m obviously lacking in areas that I need to improve in.
“I just need to go back to the drawing board and keep trying and improving, because I really do believe that I can do a lot better than I have done in my career so far.”
Worse still, Watson found that after the math she had come in for a lot of Twitter abuse, after checking her social media following her loss.
“I was just in the changing rooms with Naomi Broady and Tara Moore talking about it. After a loss like this, I’m so angry with myself, I feel like I need to punish myself. It wasn’t a good day. I just went on Twitter. There was plenty.”
She went on to add: “I’d say it’s more women [who receive Twitter abuse after losses] – I don’t know why they bet on us because our results are all over the place. That’s not very smart from them.”
It has been a frustrating time for the Brit who has struggled with an abdominal tear and it affected her throughout the clay court season too, where she was desperate to get her ranking up to guarantee her a place in the British squad.
She admitted that the place had come at a cost in the two back to back slams, as Watson continues to strive to progress past the third round of a Slam. She reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2012 (losing to eventual finalist Agnieszka Radwanska) and last year losing to eventual champion Serena Williams.
Watson will be playing in the doubles at Wimbledon with Naomi Broady.
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