Watson bows out to Halep
Originally published on: 28/08/13 00:00
Watson, who admitted prior to the tournament that she was yet to put her bout of glandular fever behind her, came into the match with a 0-13 record against players ranked in the top 20 but came out firing against Halep, who arrived in New York as one of the season’s standout performers.
Halep, who claimed her fourth career title in New Haven on the eve of the US Open, slipped 2-0 down in the early stages but responded in style and had points for a 4-2 lead – but Watson dug deep to break back and level up at 3-3.
From there the set remained on serve until game 12, where Watson fashioned an opening with some sharp angled drives, drawing the error on set point when the Romanian netted.
Watson found herself a break behind again midway through the second set but responded immediately to level at 3-3, much to Halep’s frustration. The world No. 19 was handed a reprieve soon after as Watson squandered a 40-0 lead to drop serve and leave Halep to take the match into a decider.
A break at the start of the final set put Halep in control, and this time the Romanian never looked back. She quickly moved 3-0 ahead before Watson ended her six-game streak with a break back, but it was too late for the Briton, who faded badly in the closing stages.
Elsewhere, American 17-year-old Victoria Duval pulled off the shock of the day by knocking out 2011 champion Sam Stosur 5-7 6-4 6-4. The Australian No. 11 seed, who clocked up a staggering 56 unforced errors, saved a match point at 3-5 in the final set, but could do nothing with world No. 296 Duval serving for the match.
Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova needed three sets and nearly two hours to beat world No. 92 Misaki Doi 6-2 3-6 6-1, while Caroline Wozniacki overcame a second-set battle with Ying-Ying-Duan to prevail 6-2 7-5.
There were no such problems for No. 4 seed Sara Errani, who handed Australia’s Olivia Rogowska a double-bagel, while Ana Ivanovic cruised past Anna Tatishvili 6-2 6-0 and Maria Kirilenko crushed Yanina Wickmayer 6-1 6-1.