Tennis-Briton Watson makes a fourth round at 43rd attempt


Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 1, 2022 Britain's Heather Watson celebrates winning her third round match against Slovenia's Kaja Juvan REUTERS/Matthew Childs

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Heather Watson reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in 43 attempts over 12 years on Friday as she beat Slovenia's Kaja Juvan 7-6(6) 6-2 in front of a barely believing crowd on Wimbledon Court one.

Watson, 30, has slipped to 121st in the world rankings and fourth in Britain and although she has tasted notable success in doubles, she has never been able to sustain a challenge in singles at the top level, her best Wimbledon performances being reaching the third round three times.

She came through an awkward first set full of slices and drop shots against 21-year-old Juvan and did not let her head drop after blowing three set points in the tiebreak before taking it 8-6 on a double fault by the 60th-ranked Slovenian.

Energised, Watson blasted to a 5-0 lead in the second set, adding power and confidence to her groundstrokes, and though Juvan launched a late rally, Watson prevailed to cap a week to remember in which she has been on court five days in a row after her first two matches ran into second days.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ed Osmond)

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