Thursday 8 December 2016

'Heather Watson deserved to win' - Serena Williams after coming through titanic match

Nick Purewal

Published 03/07/2015 | 19:47

Heather Watson of Britain waves to the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams of the U.S.A. (R) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Heather Watson of Britain waves to the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams of the U.S.A. (R) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Serena Williams in action against Heather Watson on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Heather Watson of Britain waves to the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams of the U.S.A. (R) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Heather Watson and Serena Williams leave centre court following their match on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Heather Watson and Serena Williams leave centre court following their match on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Heather Watson of Britain applauds the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams of the U.S.A. (L) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Heather Watson and Serena Williams leave centre court following their match on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Heather Watson of Britain applauds the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams of the U.S.A. (L) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Heather Watson of Britain applauds the fans after losing her match to Serena Williams of the U.S.A. (L) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. celebrates after winning her match against Heather Watson of Britain (R) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. celebrates after winning her match against Heather Watson of Britain (R) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. celebrates after winning her match against Heather Watson of Britain (R) at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Michelle Watson (R) watches her daughter Heather Watson of Britian play Serena Williams of the U.S.A. during their match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Heather Watson stretches for a shot against Serena Williams during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Heather Watson's mum Michelle Watson applauds her from the players box during her match against Serena Williams on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
British fans in the stands show their support for Heather Watson during her match against Serena Williams on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Heather Watson of Britain reacts during her match against Serena Williams of the U.S.A. at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Heather Watson of Britain hits the ball during her match against Serena Williams of the U.S.A. at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Heather Watson reatcs during her match against during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams reacts during her match against Heather Watson on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. reacts during her match against Heather Watson of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. hits the ball during her match against Heather Watson of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. reacts during her match against Heather Watson of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Serena Williams celebrates a point against Heather Watson on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. hits the ball during her match against Heather Watson of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. reacts during her match against Heather Watson of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Serena Williams of the U.S.A. reacts during her match against Heather Watson of Britain at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Serena Williams celebrates against Heather Watson during day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 3, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

Heather Watson came within a whisker of one of the great Wimbledon upsets, but was unable to stop Serena Williams' march towards the calendar grand slam.

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Watson faced down the biggest match of her career forcing herself to believe "everybody's human" when taking on 20-time grand slam champion Williams.

The 23-year-old was so close to realising that mantra, pushing the reigning Australian and French Open queen the distance only for Williams to prevail 6-2 4-6 7-5 and set up a last-16 tussle with sister Venus.

An almost-tearful Serena Williams left Centre Court admitting Watson "should have won the match".

"She was playing so good there was nothing I could do," Williams told the BBC.

"She played unbelievable and really I think she should have won the match. She was up two breaks (in the final set).

"She really gave her all."

Modern great Williams, still just on course to land all four major trophies in the same season, believes Watson must aim for tennis' very top.

When asked if world number 59 Watson can crack the top 20, Williams said: "Absolutely, even beyond the top 20.

"She's playing really well.

"I think she should set her goals higher because she can definitely do better."

Watson will be left to rue breaking Williams' serve three times in a compelling final set, only to lose out once the 33-year-old recalibrated after a patchy performance.

Williams has plenty of form for dramatic antics in any case, rallying from a set down for victory four times en route to this year's French Open crown.

Even in the Roland Garros final Williams dropped the first two games of the final set against Lucie Safarova, but still hit back, claiming six games in a row for her 20th grand slam triumph.

Watson touched the very fringes of one of the great Wimbledon upsets but still fell in the end - and that after Williams had blasted to the opening set in just 25 minutes.

Watson upended Williams' commanding opening with dogged tenacity, stunning her perplexed opponent who started remonstrating with herself at times mid-point.

Williams' customary war cries - the clear sign she is in trouble - became more frequent and desperate as she clutched at, then conceded the second set.

Watson grew in stature and confidence throughout, and finally Centre Court united to back the home favourite, despite many cheering for Williams in the early stages.

Guernsey native Watson pushed to the very brink of a remarkable triumph, even serving for the match, but when it came to the ultimate crunch, this season's real Serena Williams stepped forward.

The crux of both set and match came when Watson fended off five break points when chasing a four-love third-set lead - but could not protect a sixth.

Williams unleashed a primal roar when setting up her fourth break point but needed two more to start her comeback.

Williams rallied from 40-0 down to break Watson again and level the set at three games apiece but still Watson refused to buckle.

A tetchy Williams was forced to defend another break point in the very next match but this time held firm.

Watson produced a robust service hold to level the set at four games apiece, rebuffing Williams once more.

And then the gutsy Brit broke her opponent for the third time in the set, stunning the five-time Wimbledon winner.

That left Watson to serve for the match. The pressure peaked when Williams claimed two break points, only for Watson to rally to deuce.

Williams grabbed a third break point - so Watson blasted an ace.

The fourth break point proved one too many however, Williams wrestling level once more.

The champion in Williams finally surfaced as she produced a brutal service game to love, before converting a third match point to set up that meeting with her big sister.

How British a performance to trade triumph for defeat; but Williams was right when challenging Watson to set higher aims than the world's top 20.

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