Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Stosur bows out to Watson

Last up in the day session on Day Two on Margaret Court Arena is the Australian connection Samantha Stosur, seeded 18 for this year's event, but facing a real challenge in Great Britain's Heather Watson.
Stosur beat Watson as recently as at the Canadian Masters last year, so ordinarily the match up should hold few fears for the 2011 US Open champion.

However, performances in Australia have not been the highlights in Sam's career, and 2017 is no exception so far, losing in opening rounds of both Brisbane and Sydney.
Heather Watson hasn't played a tour match yet, preferring Hopman Cup duties instead.
Ranked 81 in the world, I believe that Watson won't have enough firepower to match it with Stosur, who hopefully can exorcise some of her demons from past Aussie summers.

With breaking Watsons serve, Stosur enjoyed the perfect start, and a serve forehand combination set up what would be a love game to consolidate for 2-0.
An error ridden third game saw Watson commit fewer and enable her to register on the scoreboard.

From 30-30 Sam hit an ordinary forehand and backhand to drop serve, and then Heather upped the quality of the match with some terrific net play, volleying and smashing for winners, and serving strongly to take the lead 3-2.

Down 0-30, Stosur hit a fine off forehand down the line but her next forehand was uncontrolled and long and her backhand into the net on break point ugly.
4-2 Watson.
Although Sam was able to hit two winners and have 30-30 on the Watson serve, that was all she could manage and the Brit was closing in on a set lead.

Some good first serving assisted Sam to 3-5 and the opportunity to attack the Watson delivery.  Showing poise in the moment, Heather Watson served out the set, an ace the exclamation mark.  6-3.

The first two games of set two were long drawn out affairs, but in the end Stosur won both, holding her own serve, and breaking Watson.
The 18th seed was far more convincing in the third game where she followed up good serving with calculated rallying, only pressing the trigger on possible winners when sensible.  3-0 to the Aussie.

Two of her best serves solved a deuce problem for Stosur and she led 4-1, a third set ever closer.  
It took an eternity, and required saving several break points, but finally she held serve for 5-2.
Heather made sure that Sam would have to serve for it, but then made it easy by hitting shots long and wide, gifting enough points for Sam to cruise to 6-3 and the need for a decider.

It took a long time and a lot of desperation for Watson to hang on to her serve in the first game of the final set.  That she did paid a huge dividend the very next game where at 15-30 Stosur looked set to win the point but for a lunged defensive lob from Watson which eventually drew an errant shot and two break chances.
A running forehand down the line winner achieved the break and a 2-0 lead.

Watson consolidated to 3-0 and Stosur needed something special. Another marathon game was not it.  Sam battled hard and saved numerous break points, and had several game points, but it was Heather who managed to string two points together and achieve another service break.  4-0 and firmly in the drivers seat.

A double fault at 40-30 was a sure sign of nerves, but two authoritative serves followed and Watson had the Australian 5-0 down and staring another lost summer in the face.  
Despite a few nice shots in the sixth game, Sam seem resigned to the fact that she was about to lose, and the errors flowed.

Heather Watson won 6-3 3-6 6-0

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