Radio Sandwell Sport

French Open 2014: Heather Watson advances to round two

2014-05-27 13:43:34

Heather Watson

Britain's Heather Watson made it through to round two of the French Open with a straight-sets win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Watson, who came through qualifying, took her winning run at Roland Garros to four matches with a 6-3 6-4 victory.

She has now won 11 matches in May alone following victory at the Prague Open.

The 22-year-old from Guernsey will next face Romanian fourth seed Simona Halep - a semi-finalist last year.

Watson went into Tuesday's match on a cool and blustery Court Six as the outsider in terms of rankings, at 92 to Czech Zahlavova Strycova's 63 in the world.

Victory against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova at Roland
Garros was Watson's first at a Grand Slam since she
made the third round of the Australian Open in January
2013. It's also the first time the British number two has
won a main draw match at the French Open.

But the Briton made it as high as 39 early last year before illness and injury struck, and she appears to be back in that sort of form.

Watson had talked earlier in the week about her new attacking game plan and it was evident from the opening stages, with her forehand in particular keeping Zahlavova Strycova on the move as she went 3-0 in front.

There was even time for an embarrassed smile from Watson after she completely missed a smash but, thinking quickly, flipped the ball over her head and watched as her opponent blazed a backhand wide.

Watson appeared to have been pegged back when she dropped serve in game five - having earlier thought she had won the game, only to touch the net as she slid on the clay.

A double-fault from Zahlavova Strycova handed back the initiative in the next game, however, and Watson eased through four consecutive games to move a break up in the second set.

Again there was a brief lull in the Briton's game and Zahlavova Strycova came back to lead 3-2, but a time violation appeared to upset the Czech in game seven and she promptly netted a backhand on her way to falling behind once again.

Watson gave the large British contingent in the stands a few nervous moments before converting her third match point, maintaining a run that is likely to see her regain the British number one spot from the injured Laura Robson in the weeks to come.


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