Melbourne misery for Watson

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Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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An apparently unwell Heather Watson crashed out of the Australian Open in the first round on Tuesday, losing 6-4 6-0 to Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.

Watson came into the year’s first grand slam on the back of winning the second WTA Tour title of her career in Hobart on Saturday.

That elevated the British number one to a career-high world ranking of 38 and meant she was full of confidence ahead of her opening match in Melbourne.

However, it soon became apparent that Watson was not at 100 per cent as she lost three of her first four service games in the blustery conditions to trail 5-2.

At that point the 22-year-old called the trainer to court 10 for a lengthy consultation, during which she appeared to take on some fluids and energy gel.

It briefly did the trick as Watson immediately retrieved one of the breaks of serve and held to make it 5-4, but former Wimbledon semi-finalist Pironkova took her second chance to serve out the opening set.

Watson lost her serve again in the first game of the second set but was trying hard to remain in the contest. Two backhand winners saved break points in the third game and prompted cries of “Come on” from the right-hander, but a forehand long gifted Pironkova a 3-0 lead.

Backed by some noisy fans, the Bulgarian took the next three games as well to complete her win.

Watson, whose 2013 season was ruined by glandular fever, confirmed she had lacked energy throughout the contest after waking up feeling “bloated and weak” the past two days.

“I just struggled on the court to have energy and against any player here you can’t be like that, it’s tough enough when you are fit,” Watson said. “The trainer gave me some gels and Powerade with salt in it but there’s nothing they can really do.

“It’s really frustrating, especially at the one time I really wanted all my energy and wanted to be 100 per cent, but it happens and I should have handled it better.

“I did not celebrate (winning in Hobart) too much because I had the Australian Open on my mind, but it’s a real shame. It sucks.”

Published: Tuesday 20th January 2015 by The News Editor

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