Watson makes history as British highs continue at Wimbledon

BRITISH No3 Heather Watson savoured the turnaround in her fortunes after yesterday becoming the first British female in 10 years to reach Wimbledon’s third round with a clinical victory over America’s Jamie Hampton.

Confidence built during Wimbledon’s previous matches and in reaching the French Open’s second round last month had a visible influence as Watson quickly built a commanding lead before sealing her impressive 6-1, 6-4 win, the juxtaposition of her demeanour against this time 12 months ago – when losing to Mathilde Johansson in the tournament’s first round – every bit as great as the achievement secured.

“Last year I was probably feeling right down, at the bottom, and now I’m feeling good, I’m right at the top,” said Watson, who faces Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska next but last year cried upon her exit. “It was tough last year because I was winning the match and then I got injured early in the second set.

“It was horrible for me because it was my main tournament of the year, but it’s turned out for the better this year. [The third round is] definitely not terrifying. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it and I’m relaxed about it as well.”

Defending champion Novak Djokovic and all-time great Roger Federer also yesterday advanced to the third round and, like Watson, did so without the dropping of a solitary set, though the former admitted his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over America’s Ryan Harrison proved problematic.

“It was a great match but I was in trouble in the second set and it could have gone either way,” said Djokovic. “It is difficult to adjust under the roof, and Ryan was serving fantastically. It was a close match, he performed really well but I got the

crucial breaks in every set when I needed to.”

Federer’s win was considerably easier, however. The third seed’s form was as impressive as it has been since being replaced by Djokovic as the world’s premier player, and the

6-1, 6-3, 6-2 dismissal of Italy’s Fabio Fognini was simply never in doubt.

Federer’s 2010 final opponent, Andy Roddick, also advances to the next round but does so at the expense of Britain’s Jamie Baker, over whom he triumphed 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 7-5.

Somewhat surprisingly, former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki, US Open champion Sam Stosur and 11th seed Li Na were eliminated following respective defeats to Tamira Paszek, Arantxa Rus and Sorana Cirstea.

Wozniacki had been on the verge of victory in the second set before losing 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 to Paszek, though Stosur’s 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 loss came with far-reaching consequences. In joining myriad compatriots in suffering an early elimination, Stosur ensured Australia would be left without a remaining singles competitor.

Na’s 6-3, 6-4 loss was equally comprehensive, but there was an uplifting 6-3, 6-3 victory for Kim Clijsters, in her final visit to the All England Club, over Andrea Hlavackova.

World No1 Maria Sharapova will today finish her match with Tsvetana Pironkova after bad light stopped play. She leads 7-6 (7-3), 3-1.

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS
Men’s singles
● I Karlovic v A Murray [4]
● L Rosol v R Nadal [2]
● J Ward v M Fish [10]

Women’s singles
● M Sharapova [1] v T Pironkova
● S Williams [6] v M Czink
● E Baltacha v P Kvitova [4]