• Aegon International

Watson secures 'biggest win' to reach quarters

ESPN staff
June 18, 2014
Heather Watson could face No.2 seed Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals © Getty Images

Heather Watson came back from a set down to defeat sixth seed Flavia Pennetta in the second round of the Aegon International at Eastbourne.

The British No.1 lost the opening set on a tiebreak but fought back in the second and third to win 6-7(6) 6-4 6-2. Victory takes her through to the quarter-finals and a possible match-up with Varvara Lepchenko or second seed Petra Kvitova.

"I think it's probably the biggest win of my career," said Watson afterwards. "Flavia's a great player so I knew it wasn't going to be easy.

"I decided in the off-season last year that I wanted to become this more aggressive player and Diego [Veronelli, coach] agreed. We have both been working on it.

"I think aggressive is the way forward, and that's what I'm going to keep trying to do.

"Even in that first set tie-break, 4 1 up, I had a second serve. I hit it, I missed it, and you could say that was a turning point in the tie-break when I lost it, but, you know, I'm glad I went for it rather than just trying to make it; no regrets."

Earlier, former champion Caroline Wozniacki eased into the last eight with a straightforward 6-3 6-3 win over Sloane Stephens.

"I played well out there," Wozniacki said. "Sloane, especially in the second set, played really well, and really went for her shots. She didn't make it easy for me to finish it off. I held my composure and I served well."

Ffith seed Angelique Kerber saved two match points to overcome Alize Cornet in a lengthy three-set clash, winning 7-5 1-6 7-6(3) in 2 hours, 26 minutes. Camila Giorgi struggled to follow up her defeat of former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka as she was forced to save a match point during a laboured victory over British wild card Johanna Konta 1-6 7-5 7-5.

On the men's side, top seed Richard Gasquet celebrated his 28th birthday by beating Bernard Tomic 6-4 3-6 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

The Frenchman, who won the event in 2005 and 2006 when it was held in Nottingham, has struggled with a back injury and is playing only his third tournament since losing to Roger Federer in Miami in March.

After missing the entire clay-court season leading into the French Open, he reached the third round in Paris before losing his opening match on grass last week in Halle.

Tomic threatened by firing 16 aces, but he converted just one of ten break points.

The day saw two notable casualties, with fourth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez crashing out 6-2 7-5 with defeat by Denis Istomin, while sixth seed Gilles Simon lost 6-3 6-4 to fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

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