Heather Watson reaches third round at Wimbledon

 

Heather Watson became the first British woman to reach the third round of Wimbledon in 10 years as she put in a highly impressive display to overcome American Jamie Hampton.

Playing full of confidence after her maiden win against Iveta Benesova, Watson was always expected to put a stiff challenge against Hampton, who is ranked just three places above her, and she posted a fine 6-1 6-4 win.

But the way she dashed around Court Two to put the 22-year-old to the sword, in the first set particularly, was worthy of high praise.

Watched by Fed Cup captain Judy Murray and a number of senior figures from the Lawn Tennis Association, the 20-year-old Guernsey player was superior to her opponent in every department and screamed with joy upon the culmination of her win, which sets up a last-32 clash with Elena Vesnina or third seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

The win is another shot in the arm for the LTA, who could have up to three women in the third round if Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong pull off further wins to progress.

Watson made an inspired start, holding to love before immediately breaking her opponent's serve after Hampton netted a simple forehand.

Hampton was having a dreadful set, double-faulting and foot-faulting on several occasions on the way to handing Watson another break point.

The 20-year-old Guernsey player spurned three break points in the fourth game before clinching a fifth with a superb backhand return.

Hampton needed a lucky net cord to hold her first service game, but Watson had already done the damage and served out to move a set ahead in just 27 minutes.

Watson began the second set with as much zeal as she did the first, keeping her opponent pinned to the baseline with a series of powerful strokes.

The Briton engineered three break points and took the final one when Hampton crashed a backhand wide of the tramlines to move 2-0 ahead.

Watson's concentration wavered in the fourth game, allowing her opponent to break for the first time, but she broke back immediately, hammering down a fierce backhand that Hampton missed completely.

Hampton stunned Watson by breaking her again, but the Briton dug deep to hit back and move 4-3 up.

Another break of serve seemed on the cards in the following game but Watson survived four break points to move within sight of victory.

Watson missed a match point in the ninth but showed little sign of nerves to serve out for a memorable victory that drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

PA

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