Watson through to fourth round of Wimbledon for first time

By Charlie Stong, on No.1 Court at Wimbledon.

Heather Watson bt Kaja Juvan 7-6, 6-2.

Heather Watson is through to the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time after a 7-6, 6-2 win over Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan.

The first set was a tight, tense affair before Watson took it 8-6 on the tie-break.

But she raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set before dropping serve – then saved three more break points when Juvan looked to get right back into the match.

But she recovered to hold and send the No.1 Co

urt crowd wild.

“It wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a bit of drama at the end,” said Watson, “but what an atmosphere – there is nowhere I would rather be. You guys got me over the line.”

The match started rather sedately with three routine holds, Watson looking comfortable at 2-1.

Juvan hit a forehand long to hand Watson an early break point, but she netted a relatively simple backhand. She then hit a forehand long before an excellent drop shot from the Slovenian made it 2-2.

It was a case of anything you can do in the next game, as the Brit produced a perfect drop shot of her own before Juvan hit long to hand Watson the advantage again at 3-2 – still on serve.

Action from No.1 Court (Picture: Charlie Stong)

Juvan levelled again with an inch-perfect lob which dropped on Watson’s baseline for 3-3.

And the Slovenian made the first decisive play of the encounter, breaking to make it 4-3. A superb forehand down the line set up break point, before some dogged defensive play ended with Watson netting.

But the Guernsey girl hit back immediately. Juvan managed to save one break point but an overhead smash from Watson levelled things again at 4-4.

Two routine holds then took it to 5-5 before Watson held her nerve on serve in the 11th game – holding after deuce and finishing it off with a wonderful cross-court forehand pass.

But Juvan held to love to take it to a tie-break.

Watson lost the first point on her serve but recovered to take both her opponent’s opening service points to lead 2-1 thanks to some good approach play.

Juvan took a crucial point to make it 3-2 to Watson and level the mini-breaks, but a fearsome backhand gave Watson the advantage at 4-2 – and another beautifully-placed backhand lob made it 5-2 to the Brit.

She then tried another lob but this time the taller Juvan reached it and smashed home for 5-3.

However a forehand into the net from her opponent handed Watson three set points. The first was saved thanks to a forehand down the line before Watson netted for 6-5 as the clouds gathered above No.1 Court.

Then came her real chance – set point on her own serve. The first was into the net and Juvan’s passing shot levelled things at 6-6 after the longest rally of the match.

Juvan then hit a forehand long to give Watson her fourth chance – and this time she didn’t even have to work for it as Juvan served up a double fault to give Watson the set.

Watson was growing in confidence and broke the Slovenian in the first game of the second set.

She then held before storming into a 3-0 lead with the reassurance break thanks to a cross-court forehand and a Juvan forehand hit long.

Watson by now was in complete control – holding serve before Juvan crumbled on her own game, hitting simple balls long and into the net.

Juvan did achieve one break of her own to at least save the ignominy of a 6-0 set.

A rasping double-handed backhand down the line, then a cross-court forehand took the next game to deuce, but Juvan made it 2-5 with a deep forehand.

Watson fell to 0-30 in the next game as the tension began to mount, but produced a timely ace to level at 30-30 – and two more big serves to twice take it to deuce when break-points down.

She saved a third break-point thanks to an overhead smash, but on the deuce court could not buy a first serve.

However she recovered her composure to take the next two points thanks to Juvan hitting long, and calmed the nerves of the majority on No.1 Court with a deft drop shot to finish things off.

“We love you, Heather,” shouted a No.1 Court voice during Watson’s on-court interview. “I love you, too,” responded the Brit.

She’s loving life at Wimbledon – and will be back for more on Sunday.

Pictured top: Heather Watson during her on-court interview after her win today on No.1 Court (Picture: PA)





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