Watson happy with form ahead of Games

26 July 2012 / 16:48

Heather Watson has already packed plenty of ups and downs into 2012 but she goes into the Olympics tennis event as the British number one and heading firmly in the right direction.

The 20-year-old broke into the top 100 last year but her progress stalled at the beginning of this season as she struggled with an ankle injury that severely dented her confidence.

Watson did not win a main draw match on the WTA Tour until March in Miami, where victories over top-50 players Sorana Cirstea and Lucie Safarova proved the turning point.

She subsequently came through qualifying at the French Open and reached the second round for the second straight year, before becoming the first British woman for a decade to make the third round at Wimbledon.

She lost heavily to eventual finalist Agnieszka Radwanska but the points she picked up helped her climb inside the top 80 for the first time, and first-round victories at the recent events in Stanford and Carlsbad saw her leap to 67th and overtake Anne Keothavong as British number one.

Watson said: "At the beginning of the year it was really tough for me with my ankle injury. I just wasn't enjoying my tennis because I wasn't winning any matches. It was probably the worst I have been in my tennis career.

"So to be here now and climbing the ladder and playing well again, I am just really happy. I could not have hoped for anything more."

Watson will fancy her chances of winning at least one round back on the Wimbledon grass at the Olympic tournament, which starts on Saturday, after being drawn against Spain's Silvia Soler Espinosa in the first round.

Of the three British women in the singles draw, Keothavong has by far the toughest task against eighth seed and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, while Elena Baltacha will meet Hungary's Agnes Szavay in the first round.

Baltacha, like Watson, should have high hopes of progress, with Szavay having played only one match in more than a year because of a back injury.