French Open 2020: Heather Watson loses as British singles hopes end on day three

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Heather Watson was aiming to reach the French Open second round for the seventh time in her career

Heather Watson was unable to prolong British interest in the French Open singles after losing her first-round match to France’s Fiona Ferro.

Watson, 28, was the final Briton in the draws after five of her compatriots were beaten on the opening two days.

But the world number 56 lost 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to Ferro, who is ranked seven places higher in the world.

Watson’s defeat means she has lost six straight matches since the professional game returned in early August.

The Guernsey player competed at a decent level against the in-form Ferro – in a match delayed by rain and played in damp conditions – but their contrasting results coming into the Grand Slam event in Paris appeared to prove decisive.

Ferro, 23, has climbed into the world’s top 50 for the first time on the back of winning a clay-court title at the Palermo Open last month.

That added confidence is what seemed to give her the upper hand in a pivotal first-set tie-break from which Watson could not recover.

The pair continued to be evenly matched in the second set, but again it was Ferro who edged the crucial moments.

Trailing 2-0, she broke back in the third game and then in the seventh to claim her first main-draw win at her home Grand Slam.

Watson’s defeat means it is the first time since the French Open in 2013 that there are no British representatives in the second round of a Grand Slam.

Former world number one Andy Murray, along with British number ones Johanna Konta and Dan Evans, lost on Sunday, while Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady followed suit on Monday.

Analysis

Naomi Cavaday, former British player on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:

A real shame for Watson, it was not a bad effort at all. What would have made the difference was if she just had a couple of wins under her belt coming into the tournament.

It is about being confident in getting over the line in sets and being confident in those tight points. She just doesn’t have that and Ferro has that in bucket loads at the moment.

It was a tight match which came down to some key moments. It was a high-level match and there were plenty of positives that Watson can take.



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