Watson suffers first-round exit against impressive Krejcikova
HEATHER WATSON exited Wimbledon in round one after a 6-2 7-5 defeat to 10th seed Barbora Krejcikova.
Watson made the fourth round in 2022, her best run at the All England Club, and enjoyed her time on Court One last summer but it was a different story this time.
Former French Open winner Krejcikova showed her growing confidence on grass with a dominant display to send the home favourite packing after one hour and 38 minutes.
Watson’s first-round tie had been scheduled for Court Two on Tuesday evening, but poor weather wiped out the majority of the second day and saw her match bumped up to Court One.
It was familiar territory for the British number five, who won two of her three matches last year on on the court, but opponent Krejcikova was in no mood to offer out freebies and barely dropped a point during the opening exchanges.
Plenty of green seats were visible as Watson quickly found herself 3-0 down and despite being able to get on the board before holding again following an eight-minute game, the 10th seed broke with a sweet backhand winner to clinch a one-sided opener in 35 minutes.
More fans had filtered in and the sun was beginning to break through with Sue Barker, who fronted the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage for 30 years until she left the role last summer, in the stands to offer support for Watson.
A roaring comeback had kick-started Watson’s campaign in 2022 and she made a strong start to the second set against a player who made the Rothesay Classic final in Birmingham last month.
The pivotal moment arrived in the ninth game when Watson forced two break-point opportunities, but neither could be taken.
Krejcikova needed a medical time-out for treatment on her left foot at 6-5 in the second set, which proved to only delay the inevitable.
Three match points came and went on Watson’s serve before finally the stubborn defence of the Briton was breached to send the seeded Czech through to round two.