Wimbledon 2014: Aggressive Heather Watson beats lockjaw to topple Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic

Despite unusual ailment, the British No 1's new front-foot approach secures straight-sets victory and a meeting with No 9 seed Kerber

wimbledon

Tales of British failure here, regularly as they have to be written, should perhaps be tempered by the fact that with the obvious exception of Andy Murray, home contenders tend to be playing opponents ranked much higher. A gap of eight places should, however, be bridgable with home advantage and Heather Watson duly made light work of the Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic, taking only 65 minutes to win 6-3, 6-2.

Meeting the ninth seed Angelique Kerber will be something altogether different, but at least the Channel Islander, a first round loser on three of her four previous Wimbledons, has made the second round along with Naomi Broady, who beat a player 71 places above her on Monday.

Briefly a top 40 player last year, Watson suffered from glandular fever to spoil her season and is still not sleeping well. “I woke up at 4am and again at seven,” she said. “It's become normal, it doesn't matter. Coming to Wimbledon with confidence, I really wanted to make the most of it and was a bit nervous. My jaw was locking and I couldn't even eat through my bananas. But as soon as we started playing I got into it.”

Watson was overshadowed here last year by a run to the fourth round by compatriot Laura Robson, whose wrist injury has kept her in the commentary box this time, allowing Watson to replace her as British No 1. She is now setting her sights high and was not content with reaching the semi-final at Eastbourne, losing to Madison Keys, despite beating a top 20 player for the first time in Italy's Flavia Pennetta.

“I'm very pleased with the win,” she said. “In a lot of her service games I didn't get close but when I did I took advantage. The crowd was really behind me the whole way and I really enjoyed playing on Court Three. I've never played [Kerber] before but I know she has a very unique style.”

In the first set she survived a break point in the first game but broke in the second and therefore had a 3-0 lead before Tomljanovic got going. A capacity to save break points kept her in front and although there was an occasional error at the net or in being caught too far forward she was bold enough to try. That is all part of the new aggressive approach under coach Diego Veronelli that has been bearing fruit this season.

Serving for the set she was relieved not to go 40-15 down but got a set point with a strong serve and thought she had won it when Tomljanovic's  moon-ball was called out, only to prove on the replay to have touched the line. Replaying the point, Watson went long before earning  another set point that the Croatian netted.

In the second set, she achieved an early break thanks to Tomljanovic's wild forehand and a second one on her opponent's wayward backhand to lead 4-1. Serving for the match, she produced a good, wide serve that had Tomljanovic stretching and hitting the return too long.

Rankings were difficult to compare in the case of Britain's Tara Moore, No 250, and the experienced Russian Vera Zvonareva, a former Wimbledon finalist who is technically No 561 after missing the whole of last season with a shoulder injury.

The pair were kept waiting until after 7pm for a start, by which time the wind was whipping up out on Court Two and clouds were darkening. In a match littered with service breaks - five in succession at one stage - Moore, a 21 year-old born in Hong Kong and now living in Doncaster, recovered from a set down to draw level before play was suspended for the day.  

Home help could not produce what would have been an astonishing success for Manchester's Dan Smethurst, who was up against John Isner, the ninth seed with what Smethurst called “a ridiculous serve”. The American used it to good effect in winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 but not before Smethurst, ranked 234, had won a more than respectable number of games of his own.

“I didn't realise the crowd would get into it so much,” he said. “That was a great experience.”

Britwatch: State of the nation

Men's singles

In

A Murray plays B Rola (Sloven) in second round

Out

D Cox lost to J Chardy (Fr) 6-2 7-6 6-7 6-3 in first round

K Edmund lost to A Haider-Maurer (Aut) 6-3 7-6 6-2 in first round

D Evans lost to A Kuznetsov (Rus) 6-1 7-5 3-6 7-6 in first round

J Ward lost to M Youzhny (Rus) 6-2 6-2 6-1 in first round

D Smethurst lost to J Isner (US) 5-7 3-6 6-4 in first round

Women's singles

In

T Moore plays V Zvonareva (Rus) in first round

N Broady plays C Wozniacki (Den) in second round

H Watson plays A Kerber (Ger) in second round

Out

J Konta lost to S Peng (China) 6-4 6-3 6-4 in first round

S Murray lost to M Sharapova (Rus) 6-1 6-0 in first round

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk