Watson wins to keep British hopes alive at Wimbledon

  • Britain’s Heather Watson celebrates defeating Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan in the third round of women’s singles at Wimbledon on Friday. Alastair Grant / AP

  • Watson

  • Britain’s Heather Watson celebrates her Wimbledon win on Friday. Alastair Grant / ap

  • Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur returns the ball to France’s Diane Parry in the third round of women’s singles at Wimbledon on Friday. Alberto Pezzali / AP

  • Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko returns to Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu during the third round of women’s singles at Wimbledon on Friday. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

  • Frances Tiafoe of the US returns to Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik during the third round of men’s singles at Wimbledon on Friday. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

  • Jack Sock of the US celebrates beating Maxime Cressy of the United States in their men’s second round singles match at Wimbledon on Friday. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

  • Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in a men’s singles match on Friday at Wimbledon. Alberto Pezzali / AP

AP Sports Writer
Published: 7/1/2022 5:20:53 PM
Modified: 7/1/2022 5:18:20 PM

WIMBLEDON, England — Heather Watson has been through a lot at Wimbledon, and now she’s made it through the third round for the first time.

The 121st-ranked Watson, making is her 12th appearance at the All England Club, advanced to the fourth round on Friday by beating Kaja Juvan, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

“I know I’m not speechless because I’m blabbing on, but I don’t know what to say,” the 30-year-old Watson said on No. 1 Court. “Playing here at home in front of all you guys, the atmosphere is everything. So, please can all of you come back for my fourth round?”

The pressure on British players at their home Grand Slam can be immense. Watson and every other British player know that well.

Before Andy Murray won the men’s title, the talk among the locals would endlessly focus on Fred Perry and Virginia Wade, the last British singles champions at the All England Club.

Murray ended some of that in 2013, becoming the first British man to win the Wimbledon title since Perry in 1936. Wade, in 1977, remains the last female British champion of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament.

“I actually wasn’t that nervous,” said Watson, who had lost in the first round six times since making her Wimbledon debut in 2010.

In the next round, Watson will face Jule Niemeier of Germany. She beat Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Third-seeded Ons Jabeur also reached the fourth round, defeating Diane Parry, 6-2, 6-3, while 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko beat Irina-Camelia Begu, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Jabeur, who is known as the “Minister of Happiness” back home in Tunisia, will next face Elise Mertens. The 24th-seeded Mertens beat 2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-5.

Fifth-seeded Maria Sakkari, however, was eliminated. The Greek player, who reached the semifinals at both the French Open and the U.S. Open last year, lost to Tatjana Maria of Germany, 6-3, 7-5.

In the men’s draw, three Americans advanced — one to the third round and two to the fourth.

Qualifier Jack Sock finished off a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1) victory over another American, Maxime Cressy, in a match that was suspended Thursday after the second set. That made him the eighth American man to reach the third round, the most at any Grand Slam tournament since 1996.

Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul were also among those eight, and they already earned themselves a spot in the fourth round.

The 23rd-seeded Tiafoe, who is making his fifth appearance at the All England Club, beat Alexander Bublik 3-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Paul, seeded 30th, defeated Jiri Vesely, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Another one of those Americans, John Isner, set a men’s tour ace record.

The 20th-seeded Isner hit ace No. 13,729 to break the ATP tour record held by Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. He set the record during the third game of his third-round match against Jannik Sinner on No. 2 Court.

Six-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic also reached the fourth round. The top-seeded Serb beat Miomir Kecmanovic, 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.




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