Miami Masters 2015: Heather Watson’s Miami hopes are gone with the wind

Briton suffers 7-5 3-6 6-4 defeat to Germany's Angelique Kerber in near two-and-a-half hour marathon

Heather Watson’s hopes of an extended run in the Miami Open at Key Biscayne, effectively her home tournament, were blown away in the gusting winds on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Briton, who is based at Nick Bollettieri’s academy on the other side of Florida, offered stout resistance against Germany’s Angelique Kerber, the world No 15, but went down to a 7-5 3-6 6-4 defeat in a match that lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours.

The statistics told their own story on a day when the wind made serving very difficult. There were 15 breaks of serve in the match and Watson hit seven double faults as Kerber secured a third-round meeting with Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Kerber had just taken the first set when play was called off for the day on Friday evening because of rain. On the resumption Watson was quicker out of the blocks, breaking serve immediately to go 2-0 up at the start of the second set, but when Kerber won the next three games it seemed that the German might have taken a decisive grip on the match. Watson, however, responded well, taking the next four games to level at one set apiece.

The Briton needed to maintain her momentum at the start of the deciding set, but instead it was Kerber who went 3-0 up. Watson gritted her teeth to win a lengthy fourth game and broke on both occasions when Kerber served for the match, only to drop her own serve at 4-5, having won the previous three games.

Angelique-Kerber.jpg
Angelique Kerber celebrates victory over Heather Watson

Eugenie Bouchard’s tough start to the year continued when she was beaten 6-0 7-6 by Germany’s Tatjana Maria, the world No 113. Since reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open Bouchard has lost to Mona Barthel in her first match in Antwerp, to Lesia Tsurenko in the fourth round at Indian Wells, and has now gone down to a 27-year-old journeywoman who has only ever won three matches at Grand Slam level.

Caroline Wozniacki came back from a set down to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-1 6-3 in a match littered with errors as both women struggled to master the conditions.

“It was tough to get a rhythm out there,” Wozniacki said. “With the ball toss, the ball was flying everywhere. I just told myself that it doesn’t matter how I play as long as I win.”

Andy Murray will continue his Miami campaign today when he meets Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo in the third round, with the winner to face South Africa’s Kevin Anderson or Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer.

Murray has won two of his three previous matches against Giraldo, but the world No 31 won their most recent encounter in Madrid last year. Murray is seeded to meet Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals and Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

Comments