Heather Watson’s recent dramatic climb up the world rankings was given a bump in her drive to her bid to return to the British #1 mantle.
The Guersney ace suffered two reversals in as many days at the Madrid Open.
Despite the 23-year-old losing to Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on clay in the final round of Qualifying, Watson was awarded a Lucky Loser place in main draw following the withdrawal of Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva with illness.
But the British #2 bowed out with a battling display to Australian Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-4 in the opening round.
Gavrilova is not a popular figure for British players to face in WTA Tour draws, the Australian #2 having thrashed Brit Laura Robson during Qualifying at last year’s Eastbourne’s Aegon International.
Robson’s confidence took a beating during her dismal comeback on the professional circuit at Devonshire Park and she has only just started using her protected world ranking on the WTA Tour following a 17-month layoff because of wrist injuries.
Robson is set to face in-form world #5 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at Madrid today, but is expected to simply make up the numbers as recent matches have seen flaws in her game including the fact that she is not fully match fit.
Johanna Konta, the Eastbourne-based British #1, faces France’s Caroline Garcia in the 1st Round and has been producing indifference results recently.
The sole Brit in Madrid to fail to make the main draw is Naomi Broady, who fell 3-6 6-3 6-3 to Puerto Rica’s Monica Puig in the last round of Qualifying on Saturday