Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Watson Cannot Handle Rising Star's Power Surge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Watson Cannot Handle Rising Star's Power Surge

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley at Wimbledon

HEATHER WATSON became the seventh British casualty at this year's Wimbledon after losing 6-3, 7-5 to Madison Keys today. The 21-year-old was beaten in one hour and 16 minutes by her American opponent ranked just four places higher at No52 in the world.

Watson was unable to impose herself in the face of a barrage of powerful groundstrokes and robust serving as Keys proved why she is considered one of the rising stars in the game.

The 18-year-old is the second youngest player in the women's top 100 -- behind 16-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic -- and is at a career high ranking after advancing to the quarter-final stage at three WTA Tour events this year.

Keys was, however, making her debut at SW19 having lost in the qualifying rounds last year and despite reports she had suffered an illness last weekend, there were no signs of fatigue in an assured display that also benefitted from luck at key moments.

Watson had bullishly talked of an extended run here in the build-up to the tournament after a hugely promising year in which she reached No39 in the world back in February, four months after becoming the first British woman to win a WTA singles title in 24 years by landing the spoils at the Japan Open.

The British No2 appeared to have recovered her best form after a twomonth absence with glandular fever earlier in the year by recording her best ever win at Eastbourne last week with victory over the world No27 Varvara Lepchenko.

She began confidently enough this morning. Watson won her opening game to love with four first serves, capped with an ace before a moderately sized crowd on Court Two.

Keys responded to hold her first service game before immediately setting about asserting her authority on proceedings. A powerful backhand winner broke Watson to love in the third game and the match went with serve -- some big serves in Keys's case -- without much resistance until the eighth game.

Watson muttered "attack" to herself on more than one occasion and she did just that to earn break point, only for Keys to serve an ace before saving a second moments later to heap the pressure on the Briton. …

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