OVERCOMING the world number 48 proved a bridge too far for Heather Watson in Sydney, but all eyes now turn to the Australian Open.
The 21-year-old Sarnian, who is 121st in the world rankings, lost in straight sets to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the Apia International Sydney second qualifying round.
Watson had a highly encouraging win over Johanna Larsson a round earlier, but found the American number six Mattek-Sands a far tougher obstacle, losing out 6-2, 6-3 in the 91-minute match.
The mini-run in that tournament is unlikely to improve Watson’s ranking substantially, if at all, but whatever the case, she will have to enter this week’s qualifying tournament for the first Grand Slam of 2014.
With the last year seeing her performance hit by glandular fever, automatic qualification to the Australian Open, where she reached the third round last year, is now gone.
It means former world number 39 Watson will start her campaign at Melbourne Park on Wednesday against an as yet unconfirmed opponent, with the draw set to be made today.
More in today's Guernsey Press.