Watson hits historic Grand Slam 4th round

Britain’s Heather Watson reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career on Friday as she beat Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan in straight sets in front of a rapturous Wimbledon on court one.

The 30-year-old came through 7-6(6) 6-2 and looked stunned after her victory as she collapsed to the grass in disbelief following a difficult career so far – plagued with injuries and inconsistent form.

Watson is ranked 121st in the world rankings and fourth in Britain and although she has tasted notable success in doubles she has never been able to sustain a challenge in singles at the top level. Her previous best Wimbledon effort was reaching the third round three times.

She came through an awkward first set full of slices and drop shots against 21-year-old Juvan and did not let her head drop after blowing three set points in the tiebreak before taking it 8-6 on a double fault by the 60th-ranked Slovenian.

Energised, Watson blasted to a 5-0 lead in the second set, adding power and confidence to her groundstrokes, and though Juvan launched a late rally, Watson prevailed to cap a week to remember in which she has been on court five days in a row after her first two matches ran into second days.

As a result, Watson will be guaranteed to walk away from Wimbledon with at least £190,000 and will be increasingly confident of advancing even further after a stellar run so far.

The 30-year-old star had already beaten Tamara Korpatsch and Qiang Wang en route to securing her third round appearance and was hopeful of overcoming Juvan to reach the fourth round.

She had previously reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2012, 2015 and 2017 but had never reached the fourth round until Friday.

Speaking after the game, Watson said: ‘Wow what an atmosphere. Firstly, it wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a bit of drama at the end.’

Watson went on to add that she was ‘so happy’ to reach the fourth round and credited the crowd for getting her over the line at the end.

The British No 4 will now be focus on her next game where she will face German star Jule Niemeier, the world No 97, for a place in the quarter-finals.

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