Watson and Kontinen leave it late at SW19
HEATHER WATSON was last night celebrating reaching the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at Wimbledon – without even hitting a ball.
Guernsey’s greatest ever tennis player had been due to take to Court 14 at the All England Club during the late afternoon alongside Tatjana Maria of Germany to face Christina McHale of the USA and Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia for a place in last eight.
However, Ostapenko suffered a reported injury to her left foot earlier in the day while defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the fourth round of the singles, causing her to pull out of the doubles.
As a result Watson and Maria received a walkover.
‘I had no idea what the reason was,’ said Watson.
‘The match beforehand on that court was in progress and they just came and told us that we were getting a walkover.
‘I mean, how good is that? Wimbledon quarter-finals. I don’t care how I get there, as long as I get there. And I’m there. It’s a great feeling.
‘I’ve got used to winning here in the mixed over the past couple of years with Henri [Kontinen] so it’s nice to go through a few rounds in the ladies’ [doubles].’
Watson’s walkover came on a day when the 26-year old might have been excused for flashing Wimbledon’s powers that be a stare of utter exasperation.
That’s because when Monday’s order of play was initially published she was not only listed as playing the third match on Court 14 in the women’s doubles, but also for a post-5pm start in the mixed pairs along with Henri Kontinen on a court yet to be determined. That, in effect, would have left Watson with back-to-back matches to play and virtually no recovery time in between.
It was not until after 7pm that Watson and Kontinen finally got the green light to take to Court 3 along with opponents Marcin Matkowski of Poland and Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania.
But at least, thanks to Ostapenko’s misfortune, they were fresh for the challenge.
Mixed doubles champions here in 2016 and runners-up last year, the Sarnian/Finnish partnership wasted no time clicking back into gear taking the first set 6-2 in just 24 minutes.
The second proved to be a different story as Watson twice lost her serve in the fading light, Matkowski and Buzarnescu sealing it 7-5 to set up a third set.
With play on every other outside court having long since been suspended, Watson and Kontinen eventually wrapped things up with the clock showing 9.11pm, clinching the decider 7-5.
- More in Tuesday's Guernsey Press.