• French Open, Day Three

First round elementary again for dear Watson

ESPN staff
May 29, 2012

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Men's round-up: Nadal does the job
Murray eventually puts Ito away
Serena shocker after dramatic collapse
Women's round-up: Maria wins every game

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Heather Watson progressed to the second round of the French Open for the second successive year after getting the better of Elena Vesnina at Roland Garros on Tuesday.

After becoming the first British woman in 17 years to win a first round match in the clay court grand slam 12 months ago, Watson proved the performance was no fluke as she defeated the higher-ranked Vesnina out on Court Six, eventually winning 6-2 6-4.

The decisive passage of the match came in the second set, as both players exchanged breaks of serve as world No. 80 Vesnina raised her game. Watson was more than up for the challenge, however, racing around court and stunning her rival with some precise passing shots to eventually get the better of her - although she needed a controversial line call to finally give her victory.

Vesnina was left feeling aggrieved after the contest, but in truth she made life difficult for herself after a faltering start to the contest. Watson came out the brighter and her energy told, breaking to move 3-1 ahead in the first set after stretching her sluggish opponent as she used the whole court to her advantage.

From there the contest went with serve, before the world No. 109 wrapped up the opening stanza after seeing Vesnina double-fault on set point - a perhaps fitting end to a set that had not proven as testing as Watson perhaps expected.

The second set, however, was as tough as had been advertised prior to the contest - but it was also where Watson proved she has the fighting spirit to go with her smooth strokeplay. After saving break points with the score 2-1 in Watson's favour, Vesnina seemed to spark into life - immediately claiming the next game to edge back into the match.

That change in momentum would not be the last, however, as the pair were sparked into a battle of punch and counter-punch, each player retaliating with a break of the other.

In the end, however, it was Watson who stopped the rot, moving 5-4 ahead after a welcome hold to put some real pressure on Vesnina once more. The Guernsey girl then manufactured a match point at 30-40 and proceeded to take it, after Vesnina dumped a forehand into the net after Watson's own effort appeared to have flown just long.

The line judge did not call it out, however, as Watson was able to celebrate reaching the second round once again as Vesnina was left to fume at what could have been.

Watson will now face 25th seed Julia Goerges, after she came through a testing encounter against Lucie Hradecka.

Hradecka gave her German opponent a mighty scare, but eventually class shone through as Goerges dominated a crucial opening set tiebreak and went on to claim a 7-6(1) 6-4 victory.

Later in the day the news was not so good for Anne Keothavong, as she succumbed to a straight sets defeat against Melinda Czink on the same court.

Keothavong has failed to make the second round in three previous attempts, and that never really looked like changing as she failed to get a foothold on the way to a 6-1 6-2 defeat against an opponent ranked 35 spots below her.

Czink will now face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, after she beat Greta Arn 6-4 6-4.

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