Heather Watson’s attempt to reach her first final at a Premier tournament ended in disappointment yesterday but the British No 1 will make significant progress when the world rankings are updated on Monday.
Watson, who was beaten 6-3, 6-1 by the American Madison Keys in the semi-finals of the Aegon International at Eastbourne, will climb several places from her present position of No 70 in the world after becoming the first home player to reach the last four at Devonshire Park since Jo Durie 30 years ago. In her first final on the women’s tour Keys will today face Angelique Kerber, who beat Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 7-6, 6-3.
Yesterday’s Wimbledon draw handed Watson a first-round meeting with Ajla Tomljanovic, the world No 52. The 21-year-old Croat reached the fourth round of the recent French Open, where she beat Francesca Schiavone, a former champion, and Agnieszka Radwanska, the world No 4.
Johanna Konta, the only other British woman in the main draw at Wimbledon on her world ranking, meets China’s Peng Shuai, the world No 60. Of the British wild cards, Tara Moore meets Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, the 2010 runner-up, while Naomi Broady plays Hungary’s Timea Babos, the world No 94.
However, none of the British women faces a challenge quite like that handed to Samantha Murray. The 27-year-old world No 242, who is no relation to the Murrays from Dunblane, will face Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion and world No 5.
Murray said she had been “a bit shocked” when she heard the draw. She added: “This is the biggest match of my life, but this is the kind of thing you dream of. I’ve played at Wimbledon before so the experience will help me. Last year it took me a little while to get used to everything but this year I know how everything works so I’m a lot more relaxed.”
Among the men, Dan Smethurst faces the toughest task of the British wild cards, having been drawn against the world No 11 John Isner.