By Ros Satar
- Heather Watson edged in tense decider against World No. 1 Serena Williams
- Continues in the Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles
Heather Watson came within a whisker of reaching the fourth round at the expense of World No. 1 Serena Williams, in a thrilling three-setter at Wimbledon.
With the Aussie cheering section having stayed after failing to buoy up Bernard Tomic, Watson started on an even keel, but Williams was teeing off brutally off the Watson serve, giving even her first serve the treatment you would expect for a dropped short second serve.
That break after the first change of ends kept Watson on the back foot, as she tried to keep on terms, and kept the deficit to a single break. But the World No. 1 put the hammer down with a break to take the first set in just 25 minutes.
The tables turned though, as Watson took the first break in the second set, but hopes were dashed with an immediate break back by Williams. With Watson serving better, and mixing up scrambling defence with attack, she made the decisive break for a 5-4 lead, no doubt causing many a glass of Pimms to be spilled. Watson came from break point down to take the second set on her second set point.
Not only that, she carried on the momentum, breaking Williams twice to build up a 3-0 lead. But the turning point had to the battle of the match, battling hard to save five break points before finally succumbing, giving Williams one of the breaks back.
The tide was turning, as it was the American’s turn to go on a run of games, winning the next four in a row, to get the decider back on serve. It was enough for Watson to gather herself to have another go at breaking Williams, but once more was broken back, this time as she was serving out for the match.
Despite a brave fight, saving two match points, the momentum carried Williams through to a fourth round with Venus Williams.
While extremely disappointed, Watson showed some of the resolve that we knew she had she still found time to let people know in her press conference that she had not come into the match just to be a statistic.
She said: “I was two points away from winning that match, so I’m pretty disappointed. But, I mean, the atmosphere on that court was amazing. I think it really helped me and pushed me. I just wish I could have closed it out at the end.
“I wouldn’t call losing the greatest day of my career. It’s very positive that I put myself in this position. I mean, I could have been out first round in this tournament. I was match points down. I gave myself the opportunity to play against the best player in the world.
“I also gave myself the opportunity to beat her. I didn’t take it this time. But I’m really glad I was in that situation because I can learn from it and do better next time.”
She elicited this response from Andy Murray – which would have left her in no doubt how proud the nation was.
Retweet if @HeatherWatson92 just made you feel really effing proud! Favourite if she made you feel really effing proud!
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) July 3, 2015
Williams admitted that it could have so easily gone the other way.
“I honestly didn’t think I, one, was going to win. How I pulled through, I really don’t know. I just was like, listen, if I’m going to go lose, I’m going to lose trying to do the right things, she said.
“I was thinking, Well, going to find a dance class, hang around to watch Venus play. That was kind of going through my mind.”
Watson is still active in the Ladies’ and Mixed Doubles, with play continuing on Middle Saturday, starting at 11:30am BST on the outside court, and 1pm on the show courts.
Follow matches live on the BBC, online, or via the Britwatch Sports Live-score Service.