Wimbledon: With her 43rd grand slam singles shot, Heather Watson finally reaches a fourth round

By Sports Desk July 01, 2022

Beaming Brit Heather Watson got her reward for years of persistence at Wimbledon by reaching round four of a singles grand slam for the first time.

Watson also earned herself a rare day off, after a hectic start to her campaign, by racking up a 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 victory over 21-year-old Slovenian Kaja Juvan.

In singles, Watson is a four-time WTA event winner and this was a 43rd grand slam main-draw appearance, yet she had only reached the third round in a major four times before this campaign.

Watson, who has lost in round one on all 10 of her US Open singles appearances, now has a last-16 match at Wimbledon inked into her diary, achieving at the age of 30 what many thought would come much earlier in her career. Germany's Jule Niemeier awaits Watson, with a quarter-final place on the line.

Guernsey star Watson's previous best Wimbledon singles runs came in 2012, 2015 and 2017, when she was halted by Agnieszka Radwanska, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka respectively.

In mixed doubles, she was a champion with Finland's Henri Kontinen in 2016 and a runner-up in 2017, but singles is where it matters most.

This week she has faced Tamara Korpatsch, Wang Qiang and world number 62 Juvan, a kind run compared to previous Wimbledons, and Watson has taken advantage. She has unusually had to play every day so far, however, with her first-round and second-round matches both spanning two days.

A former world number 38, Watson has drifted to 121st in the WTA rankings. She won just five games when well beaten by Juvan at last year's US Open, but this time it was Watson's day.

It was a match she would have fancied, given Juvan had already lost four times this season to players ranked outside the top 100.

Watson said in an on-court BBC interview: "Wow, what an atmosphere. I actually wasn't that nervous, but first time in the fourth round, I'm so happy. I'm not speechless because I'm blabbing on, but I don't know what to say. It means everything."

She has taken inspiration from seeing fellow Britons Katie Boulter, Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady battle through early matches.

"It really helps. I've watched all of their matches," Watson said. "It's really inspiring, and we're all egging each other on."

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