Guernsey Press

Watson out of Wimbledon

HEATHER WATSON’S quest to win a second Wimbledon mixed doubles title is over, writes Spencer Vignes.

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Joe Salisbury and Heather Watson during their mixed doubles round of 16 match on day eight of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. (Picture by Steven Paston/PA Wire, 32299580)

The Sarnian and her on-court partner Joe Salisbury lost a nail-biting second-round clash against Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Latisha Chan of Taipei, squandering three match points in the 10th game of the third set before ultimately going down 6-2, 3-6, 6-7.

The British pair sailed through the first set in just 30 minutes only for Dodig and Chan to drastically raise their game in the second, the crucial break coming in the sixth game when Salisbury lost his serve.

The third set saw early breaks of serve either way as the match came to the boil, with both pairs playing some excellent tennis.

Yet after saving that trio of match points at 4-5, Dodig and Chan seemed to find another level, winning the last five points of the decisive tie-break to book their place in the third round.

‘Our opponents today, well, some of their shots I’d never seen anything like it,’ said Watson, who won the Wimbledon mixed event in 2016 with Henri Kontinen.

‘I’ve played a fair few mixed matches now and they really lit it up today, especially when they needed to.

‘We were so close and it hurts a lot, particularly as I loved playing with Joe out there. The two matches we’ve played here are our first together. It feels like if we had got over this line, who knows how far we could have gone?

‘We didn’t give them any freebie points, we didn’t let them in or anything. They just really started to up their game. Sometimes there’s just nothing in it, and this was one of those occasions.’