Heather Watson's US Open campaign ends early

 

Heather Watson's US Open campaign came to an end on the first afternoon at Flushing Meadows as she was beaten 6-2 6-3 by ninth seed Li Na.

It was a very tough draw for Watson. Li has had an up and down time since winning the French Open last summer but she has well and truly hit form on the north American hard courts.

The 30-year-old reached the final in Montreal earlier this month, losing to Petra Kvitova, and then beat Agnieszka Radwanska, Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber back to back to win her first title of the year in Cincinnati.

Watson, meanwhile, was fresh from winning her second WTA Tour doubles title of the year in Texas with New Zealand's Marina Erakovic on Friday but had not won a singles match since the Olympics.

The British number one began confidently and had a break point in the fourth game but Li saved it with a big serve, and from there the ninth seed rather pulled away.

Watson lost five games in a row to end the first set, looking exasperated at Li's precision, but the Guernsey player stopped the rot at the start of the second, beginning the game with two aces.

The 20-year-old does not lack for fighting spirit and she again began to trouble Li with her returns, and this time she got the breakthrough to lead 3-1.

But Li hit straight back and, when Watson lost a second straight service game to trail 4-3, the end was nigh.

She was saved, at least for a little while, though, by the weather as, with Li having held serve to move to within a game of victory, the heavens opened and an almighty thunderstorm hit Flushing Meadows.

The pair were off court for almost three hours but Li needed only one game to clinch victory with a third straight break of the Watson serve.

PA

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