Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Tennis

Wimbledon: 'Pumped up' Watson holds nerve to save match points

By Robert Jones

A "pumped up" Heather Watson will target "controlled aggression" to equal her best-ever Wimbledon showing and set up a potential third-round clash with Serena Williams.

British No 1 Watson saved three match points to defeat Caroline Garcia in a truncated first-round tie that had been suspended for bad light on Monday night.

The 23-year-old prevailed 1-6 6-3 8-6 to book a second-round clash with Daniela Hantuchova, then revealed she psyched herself up for yesterday's resumption of play with an intensive workout session.

"I always listen to music before I go on, upbeat, fast, dancy stuff but I did a lot more than usual before we went back out," said Watson. "I warmed up for a good half-hour non-stop, quick stuff, lots of sprints just to make sure I was ready.

"I was so flat on Monday, I needed to be pumped up and fired up because I'd started the match so flat before.

"Today it was one set and that was it so I had to make sure I had a good start, so that's why I came onto the court already sweating, very motivated."

Desperately clutching for form in a dismal first set on Monday, Watson vented frustrations by vigorously slapping her thigh in a bid to galvanise herself into the contest.

"Hopefully it's controlled aggression," said Watson. "It doesn't feel so good after the match.

"I don't even feel it when I do it. There's always a bit of a red mark after.

"It's the heat of the moment. I don't even know what I'm doing until after it's done."

Meanwhile, Laura Robson has challenged herself to be Grand Slam ready in two months' time after battling through her roll of the dice Wimbledon defeat to Evgeniya Rodina.

Robson's 17-month wrist injury nightmare haunted the former British No 1, who slipped out at SW19 in a straight-sets defeat that marked just the second match of her comeback.

The 21-year-old remains unranked and accepted a Wimbledon wildcard, admitting she could not face missing out in south-west London for a third year running.

Robson confirmed she will take up her protected ranking of No 58 - which lasts eight tournaments - to enter the US Open at the end of August.

"Compared to the match I played last week, it was infinitely better," said Robson of her Wimbledon defeat when sat alongside her 6-0 6-1 loss to Daria Gavrilova in Eastbourne qualifying.

"I was the one hitting winners, but I was the one hitting unforced errors as well."

Robson knows full well only her British status afforded her the chance to feature at Wimbledon this year.

The US Open will be a different story altogether, leaving the Melbourne-born star conceding she is eyeing up starting that protected ranking period to appear at Flushing Meadows.

"That is currently the plan, but that's still a long way off," said Robson. "We'll see where I'm at.

"We're going to remain patient: we're going to train for another couple of weeks then play in some smaller tournaments."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph