French Open 2021: British number two Heather Watson loses in first round

Heather Watson
Heather Watson has never been beyond the second round at the French Open

British number two Heather Watson made a first-round exit from the French Open with a straight-set defeat by Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.

World number 71 Watson, who has never progressed beyond the second round at Roland Garros, lost 6-4 7-5.

Diyas, ranked 93rd, will face Belgian 14th seed Elise Mertens or Australian qualifier Storm Sanders next.

Watson’s loss leaves Johanna Konta as the only Briton remaining in the women’s singles draw in Paris.

Konta, seeded 19th, plays Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in her opening match later on Monday.

In the men’s draw, British number two Cameron Norrie is in action against American Bjorn Fratangelo.

Watson, 29, made the perfect start as she broke Diyas’ serve in the opening game but the Kazakh, 27, closed out the first set with consecutive breaks as the Briton suffered an alarming dip, losing 15 consecutive points.

Beaten in the qualifiers at the Italian Open and Madrid Open in recent weeks, Watson saved five break points early in the second set before finding a break of her own.

Despite another gritty hold at 4-2, it was a similar tale for Watson as Diyas broke back to level at 4-4 – and once again in the 12th game of the set to seal victory.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, former British number one Laura Robson said: “The scream of frustration from Heather at the end of the match said it all. We all know she can play better than that and she has not brought her best tennis this year. It is a real shame.

“She is a great competitor and great mover but it has not been the Heather we know this year. Diyas played well and solid but didn’t need to be as consistent because Heather gave her a few easy balls.”

BBC News