Watson progresses at Wimbledon despite sleepless night

24 June 2014 / 18:53

Heather Watson overcame a sleepless night to effortlessly progress to Wimbledon's second round for the second time in her career.

Watson admitted she felt the nerves before her first round clash with Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic, especially as she is flying the home flag this year in the absence of former British number one Laura Robson.

Since being laid low by glandular fever last year Watson has struggled to sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

And it was lucky for her nerves that she didn't see the queue of partisan fans that snaked around the All England Club for a prized seat on Court 3 for her match on Tuesday.

"I was a bit nervous going on to court," said Watson, who joins fellow Brit Naomi Broady in the second round.

"I struggled to eat before I go on and actually my jaw was locking and I couldn't even bite through my banana. However, as soon as we started playing, I got into it.

"I had a lot of support, which was fantastic. From the moment I walked onto the court and they said my name, the crowd was very positive and behind me the whole way.

"It was a tough match, she's been climbing the rankings and she hits big and has a big serve. I just had to take advantage of the chances when they came along."

Watson's ambition this year has been inching up the world rankings - she's currently number 60 - and making the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time, having lost in the third round at Wimbledon two years ago and the 2013 Australian Open.

But Germany's Angelique Kerber, the number nine seed, is next up following her 6-2, 6-4 over Ursula Radwanska and that will be no easy task.

"I have never played Kerber before but I have seen her play quite a lot," added Watson. 

"She's a top player, she's not in the top ten in the world for no reason. She's got a very unique style and I'm just looking forward to it and challenging myself."

Meanwhile, British number five Samantha Murray went down 6-1, 6-0 to former champion Maria Sharapova.

However, Murray gave her opponent more of a match than the scoreline suggests and will feel good about booming four aces past her experienced rival.

She even had a chance to break in the opening game of the match before the nerves tightened and the number five seed restored normal service.

Murray will bank £27,000 for her first round exit and claims the experience will only motivate her as she returns to the hard grind of the tennis tour and bids to inch her current 242 ranking upwards.

"It's a big help for the rest of the year," she added.  "It lets you travel more and it's not so much strain in deciding where to play.

"The money definitely helps in being able to build a schedule that's right for your tennis rather than having to worry financially whether you're able to go to those tournaments.

"Everybody wants to play the better tournaments.  You just got to keep climbing the rankings.  I'm going to have to go back to playing more lower tournaments to try and build my ranking and get back here on my own right."

British men's number five Daniel Smethurst also lost - meaning defending champion Andy Murray is now the only home men's player left in the draw.

However, on his Wimbledon and Grand Slam debut, Smethurst gave a good account of himself, going down 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to number nine seed John Isner.

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