• US Open

Heather Watson lets winning position slip

ESPN staff
August 27, 2013
Heather Watson during her first-round defeat by Simona Halep © AP

Heather Watson squandered a strong position to lose 4-6 6-4 6-2 to Romanian 21st seed Simona Halep in the first round of the US Open.

Watson looked untroubled when she eased to 6-4 4-4 and was serving at 40-0. But she dropped five points in a row, and the next four games, and was never again in the game.

"I knew she wouldn't give it to me and she didn't, and I didn't make first serves on any of those game points," said a tearful Watson. "That game was extremely important and I think once I get a few matches under my belt, I'll learn how to play those points smarter and take my time.

"I think that's why it hurts a lot, because I was so close. But if I keep making these opportunities for myself, I'll take some."

Watson's ranking has slipped from 39th to 76th after a year in which she has suffered from glandular fever.

"I played better than I have been," Watson said. "I was playing one of the hottest players on tour right now. I thought I played a good two sets [but in] the third set my fitness let me down a bit; I was cramping in my legs. I was bit tense in the way I was moving and hitting the ball.

"All in all, I'm pleased with how I played but I had my chances and I had an opportunity to win that match in two sets. But she's got the confidence and she won the points when it mattered."

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