- Aegon Classic
Watson back to winning ways in Edgbaston
British No. 2 Heather Watson claimed her first WTA Tour victory since February, beating Hungary's Melinda Czink 6-4 7-6(0) to move into the second round of the Aegon Classic.
Watson, who took a four-month break after being diagnosed with glandular fever following consecutive first-round defeats in Indian Wells and Miami, rarely looked in danger on a damp and chilly day in Edgbaston, but wobbled when serving for the match against the world No. 110 on the Priory Club's new Ann Jones Court.
After a string of solid holds at the start of the second set, a fine pass from Watson and a Czink double-fault helped the Briton reach break point, taking the lead when Czink forced an inside-out forehand into the tramlines and consolidating with a hold to love for a 5-3 lead.
Whether it was the nerves of serving for a match for the first time since February or the delay in the action as Czink argued that the courts were too greasy, Watson suddenly found herself facing break points for the first time in the match at 5-4. She battled back from 0-40 down, but a double fault, just her second of the match, and a framed backhand offered Czink a reprieve.
Having served for the set two games earlier, Watson served to stay in the match at 5-6, roaring with relief after serving out from 30-30. From there she never looked back, racing through the tiebreak without dropping a point.
"I ate, slept and watched TV," Watson joked of her recovery after sealing her first win in four months before reflecting on her journey back to winning ways, having suffered a first round defeat on her comeback at the French Open.
"That was very tough - I've had friends who have gone through it, and you just don't know how it's going to take for your to get back, so that was a bit discouraging.
"But you have to be positive. In the end it wasn't too bad and I got back quite soon."
Earlier in the day there was disappointment for Laura Robson and American partner Lisa Raymond, who crashed out of the first round of the double draw to former doubles No. 1 Cara Black and New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 6-4 6-2.
British No. 1 Robson received a bye as the No. 8 seed in Birmingham, and will face Daniela Hantuchova in the second round after the Slovakian beat Australia's Casey Dellacqua 6-1 7-6(1).
Johanna Konta booked her spot in the second round with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Japanese qualifier Kurumio Nara, but fellow British wildcard Tara Moore crashed out after taking the first set against No. 12 seed Kristina Mladenovic en route to a 5-7 7-6(5) 6-4 defeat.
Belgian No. 9 seed Yanina Wickmayer eased through to the second round with a 6-2 7-6(5) victory over Kazakhstan's Yulia Putinseva, while American qualifier Maria Sanchez beat Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-3 6-2.