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No final ‘three-peat’

Sport | Published:

HEATHER WATSON’S hopes of reaching a third successive Wimbledon mixed doubles final have been dashed.

Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson kept smiling throughout their mixed doubles third round match yesterday evening, even though it ultimately ended in defeat to third seeds Ivan Dodig and Latisha Chan. (Picture by Jonathan Brady/PA Wire, 21969100)

After winning the event in 2016 and finishing runners-up 12 months ago, Watson and her Finnish partner Henri Kontinen were last night knocked out in the third round by Ivan Dodig, of Croatia, and Latisha Chan, of Taipei.

In truth, they were second best throughout, particularly in the first set when the usual on-court chemistry between the pair seemed to go awry, Kontinen’s usually solid doubles game uncharacteristically letting him down.

They improved in the second forcing a tie-break which swung away from them when, with the score at 3-4, Watson thrashed the kind of volley she would normally dispatch in her sleep horribly long of the court to make it 3-5.

Although the next point was won, Dodig then served out the next two exchanges to take the tie-break 7-4 and the match 6-2 7-6.

‘Unfortunately it’s not coming home,’ said Watson afterwards putting a brave face on what was only their second defeat as a pair in 14 matches.

‘I thought they played really well. They’re number three seeds for a reason. They’re really good doubles players. I don’t think we were at our best, but also they didn’t allow us to get a good hit.

‘I think I was actually more devastated last year in the final than this. I’m the same as Henri. Coming off the court, I’m not like really upset or anything because we tried our best every single point and we’ve had fun.

‘What more could we have done? They were just too good today.’

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Despite the defeat, Watson’s Wimbledon isn’t over just yet.

Later today she will partner Tatjana Maria of Germany in the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles, the number three seeds, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, standing in their way of a place in the semis.

‘Hopefully there will be some great tennis because I really enjoy playing with my partner, Tatjana, and we just get on really well, much like Henri and me,’ added Watson.

‘No matter what happens we will give our best and hopefully get the result that we want.

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‘It’s going to be tough because we’re facing the number three seeds and we’re unseeded, but in doubles sometimes that doesn’t count for anything.

‘They’re obviously good players but so much depends on the actual day. It’s not all about whether you play well – it’s a team thing.’

That quarter-final is second on Court 2 today.

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