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Woe for Watson after defeat by Halep in Miami

By Robert Jones

Published 29/03/2016

Bowing out: Heather Watson was beaten by Simona Halep
Bowing out: Heather Watson was beaten by Simona Halep

British number two Heather Watson has crashed out of the Miami Open after a straight-sets defeat to Simona Halep.

World number five Halep clinched victory in the last 16 in Florida 6-3 6-4 despite suffering a scare early on from the Brit.

Watson broke Halep in her first two service games and led 3-1 in the opening set before Halep rattled off five straight games to take the first set 6-3.

Watson, ranked 69th in the world, was broken again in the fifth game of the second set before breaking back to make it 3-3. But yet another break put Halep 4-3 up before the pair held serve to give the Romanian the chance to serve for the match.

The 2014 French Open finalist then wrapped up the win with a love service game to advance into the quarter-finals.

Eighth seed David Ferrer was the day's highest-profile casualty, losing 6-7 (1/7) 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 by France's Lucas Pouille.

The world number 88 led by a break at 4-3 in the final set but was pegged back, only to eventually battle through after two-and-three-quarter hours on court. He will play France's Gilles Simon, who beat Marin Cilic 6-3 6-7 (4/7) 6-3.

In the women's draw, Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber was sternly tested before illness ended opponent Kiki Bertens' challenge.

Bertens, ranked 41st in the world, beat 26th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the previous round and took the first set 6-1 against the second seed.

But she needed a medical timeout early in the second set and though she battled on, Kerber gained the upper hand and was leading 1-6 6-2 3-0 before Bertens threw in the towel.

Timea Babos awaits her there after a 7-5 6-0 win over Japanese wild card Naomi Osaka.

Fourth seed Garbine Muguruza enjoyed a more comfortable evening as she blew away American wild card Nicole Gibbs 6-1 6-0 to set up a clash with 13th seed Victoria Azarenka.

Belfast Telegraph

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