I’ve been following and posting about Heather Watson since 2011. In fact, earlier this year I wrote about her win in Hobart (click for link: WTA Wrap-Up 1.17.2015: Petra Kvitova Wins In Sydney, Heather Watson Takes Hobart). Even as I see her run through American players like she did in Hobart (Sloane Stephens, Alison Riske and Madison Brengle) I am still absolutely delighted watching her success. Delighted..hmmm…yes, if I were to describe how I find Heather Watson, the word would be delightful. I don’t mean that to be patronizing in any way. She is simply armed with an engaging personality and megawatt smile. But I didn’t see what happened today on Centre Court at Wimbledon 2015 coming. I thought against world #1 Serena Williams that Heather would be lucky to lose 4 and 3. After Serena won the first set 6-2, my expectations for Heather lowered even more. But then the Guernsey native showed she has more game, more heart and more moxie than I ever imagined. Playing incredible defense, she started to do the seemingly impossible…take it to Serena’s serve. Big forehands, slice returns, running down shot after shot…Heather was playing the best tennis I’ve ever seen from her. Next thing you know, Heather put a dent into Serena’s armor of invincibility, taking the second set 6-4 as Henman Hill was going bonkers. And she wasn’t finished. She sent the British crowds into a frenzy as she broke Serena not once, but twice, to open the final set. Ah, but then it happened. Up two breaks and 3-0, I just had the feeling she needed to get it to 4-0 to win. Catherine Whitaker on The Tennis Podcast mentioned that she was watching the match with 7-time Major winner Mats Wilander and he said if Heather lost the fourth game, she would lose the match. I thought the same thing. Two breaks is only two breaks if you have holds of serve to back it up. In tennis, you often see players break and then get broken right back. Add in the fact that Serena has come back more times than I can count in third sets. Heck, her recent Roland Garros title run was built on a series of three setters. When Serena earned one break back to get it to 3-1 Watson, I knew Heather’s chance had slipped away regardless of still being a single break up. Oh, she didn’t go quietly. Watson fought like a champion down the stretch but just couldn’t get enough big points to pull it out as Serena eventually, tearfully, won 6-2 4-6 7-5. It was a Rocky-like performance from Heather…the first Rocky in particular, where the challenger comes up a little short but gets the respect of everybody who watched. Serena was asked if Heather could be a top 20 player. Serena responded that Heather should shoot higher. Indeed, if Heather can even reproduce 85% of what she did on day 5 of Wimbledon 2015 she can be one of the game’s best players. She has 2 WTA titles and only recently turned 23. She has time to do great things in her career. I’ve been following her for the last four years. I suspect a lot more people will follow her now.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
HEATHER WATSON (lost 2-6 6-4 5-7 to 1 Serena Williams)
4 MARIA SHARAPOVA (won 6-4 6-3 vs Irina-Camilia Begu)
6 LUCIE SAFAROVA (won 3-6 6-3 6-1 vs Sloane Stephens)
16 VENUS WILLIAMS (won 6-3 6-2 vs Aleksandra Krunic)
COCO VANDEWEGHE (won 6-2 6-0 vs 22 Samantha Stosur)