Heather Watson continued her fine play on the grass courts as she caused a slight upset over 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova, taking the victory 6-3, 6-4. Watson, a semifinalist in Eastbourne, has now won six of her last seven matches as she looks set for a return to the Top 100.
Sevastova had come into the tournament on the back of her first career grass court title in Mallorca, but she couldn’t have played worse to begin the match. A pair of errors, including a forehand misfire on break point gave the Brit a 2-0 lead.
Watson’s serve was nearly inch-perfect to begin and the easy holds she was accumulating piled even more pressure on the Latvian and a thumping backhand gave her 15-40 on the Sevastova serve. She duly took a second break with a magnificent drop shot and she was 4-0 in front.
Visibly agitated, things would only get worse for Sevastova as she only managed three points on the Watson serve in the opening set. To complete the misery, another super drop shot from the home country favorite brought up set point and she was a set ahead with an errant forehand from the 18th seed, the world number 103 blanking her opponent after just 19 minutes.
To her credit, Sevastova started to raise her level of play in the second set. She would soon find herself in front courtesy of three double faults off the Watson racket, the break to the Latvian and with it, her first lead of the match at 2-1. A quick hold consolidated the 18th seed’s lead and a third set, out of nowhere, looked to be a distinct possibility.
It was the aggressive hitting that brought the Brit back level. At 30-30, she ripped a forehand to create break point and after a dead net cord gave her a second chance, she drew a backhand error from the Latvian to level the set at 3-3. The pendulum continued to swing back and forth and it was Sevastova’s turn to do damage, her forehand dominant in a love break for a 4-3 lead.
Watson made one last push to get over the line and she broke back with some deep, hard forehands, a love break squaring the set at 4-4. After surviving a challenge on serve, Watson was a game from the finish line and she set up three match points at 0-40. After saving the first, Sevastova dumped a forehand into the net and Watson was on her way to her third career Wimbledon Round of 32.
Watson will next take on two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Friday after the Belarusian took out last year’s semifinalist Elena Vesnina in straight sets.