2015 Aegon International

Stephens serves up Watson’s woe

Watson (left) lost to Stephens 2-6 3-6

Heather Watson failed to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Johanna Konta by reaching the last eight of the pre-Wimbledon showpiece at Eastbourne.

The battling Brit, fortunate to reach the 3rd Round after a mediocre display the previous day, was smashed by Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-3 on Centre Court.

Watson’s wayward form on grass, just one win from three tournaments although she was a late withdrawal at the Nottingham Open, ahead of Wimbledon is bad news for the Guernsey girl.

She lacked her usual conviction, even in the warm-up she looked displeased to be there. Only the fabulous support from the enthusiastic crowd appeared to lift her spirits.


Watson struggled to find her form

But even that wasn’t enough as Stephens stepped up to the task in hand to make it 82 excruciating minutes for her opponent.

Watson dropped her first two service game but held off a couple of set points to trail 5-2 before Stephens secured the set.

And Watson’s woe was completed with an underpar performance, she dropped two of her first three service games.

heather-watson2However she managed to save one match point before bowing out.

Whilst Watson’s wobbled on grass, failing to be moved from the baseline, it was the talented American ace whose style of play and technique are not dissimilar from her compatriot Venus Williams that caught the eye.

Whether Stephens can continue to start living up to the hype surrounding her when she burst onto the WTA Tour a few years ago remains to be seen, but she is definitely giving it her best shot.

Watson, surprisingly sheepish on Court against the world #43, had held an unblemished record against the American in their first four meetings.

But the power shifted towards Stephens after she demolished Watson at the 2015 French Open and dented her confidence.

Watson admitted: “I just felt that I never got going. I felt quite slow to the ball, slow reacting and just slow with my mind.

I ended up making quite a lot of unforced errors but Sloane played great and was very solid.”

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