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Wimbledon 2015: Sizzling Watson serves up a classy win over Hantuchova

Britain's heather turns on style to sail through but next up is favourite serena

By Nick Purewal

Heather Watson blasted past former World No 5 Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets to book a third-round Wimbledon clash with 20-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

British No 1 Watson dispatched Czech star Hantuchova 6-4 6-2 to equal her best-ever showing at SW19 by reaching the third round.

Watson was forced to rally after a flat start for a three-set victory over Caroline Garcia in the first round, but needed no such psyching up amid Wimbledon's hottest day of all time.

The 23-year-old admitted winding herself up to find the "controlled aggression" to move past Garcia, in a clash that spanned two days owing to bad light on Monday night.

Watson sustained that high-tempo approach against World No 46 Hantuchova, deservedly progressing - and comfortably so in the end.

She will now meet Williams in the third round, the American gunning for tennis' Holy Grail, the calendar Grand Slam.

Williams disposed of Hungary's Timea Babos 6-4 6-1 in the second round yesterday on Centre Court.

"I'm really looking forward to playing Serena; I've never played her before," Watson said. "She's an amazing champion, athlete and competitor.

"It won't be easy, but I'm really looking forward to playing her at Wimbledon.

"I definitely kept my cool better in this match; I was a lot calmer. I didn't panic, I hit a few double faults to give it away but just stayed calm and kept playing my game, and it brought me back."

Williams already boasts the Australian and French Open titles this year and is the hot favourite to claim her sixth Wimbledon crown.

Watson has only reached the third round once before, in 2012, and as the World No 64 will assume the underdog mantle against Williams.

The ambitious and driven Brit's ranking has peaked at 38 so far in her career, but she has widely been tipped to crack the top 20.

Watson started brightly, keen to shrug off any of the malaise she felt gifted Garcia the first set in their first-round meeting.

Both ladies held serve in a solid start before Watson (below with Hantuchova) produced three double-faults to hand Hantuchova the initiative.

Refusing to allow the jitters to set in though, Watson broke straight back, before breaking again at the very next opportunity to take control of the set.

Turning the set on its head in a flash allowed Watson the confidence to serve out and take a one-set lead without any real issues.

Watson then never allowed the rest of the match to become a contest, dominating Hantuchova at almost every turn in the second set.

The British hope broke her Czech adversary straight away, only to drop her own serve in the next game.

But after that she fired right back, breaking twice in succession before serving out for victory.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova overwhelmed Dutch debutant Richel Hogenkamp 6-3 6-1 to reach the third round.

The Russian fourth seed battered World No 123 Hogenkamp with a display of trademark power, encountering fleeting resistance in the opening set before taking control.

The second set saw Sharapova dominate proceedings with the 2004 Wimbledon champion finishing off her opponent with a pair of thunderous forehands.

Sam Stosur, the 22nd seed from Australia, completed a comfortable straight sets win over Urszula Radwanska, dispatching the Pole 6-3 6-4.

American Madison Keys recovered from losing the opening set to post a 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland in their first-round tie on Court Three.

Belfast Telegraph


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