French Open: Heather Watson v Stefanie Voegele as it happened

Heather Watson loses in three sets to Stefanie Voegele in her first match since recovering from glandular fever.

29 May 2013 Last updated at 14:06

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As it happened

  1. 1232: 
    Coming up...

    A little later, be sure to look out for Roger Federer and Serena Williams, not to mention a potential corker between Gael Monfils and Ernests Gulbis. Anyone up for a five-set epic? That could be it. Thanks for your company, we'll be back in a while.

  2. 1229: 

    There's just enough time to whizz you around the grounds and point out that home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is under way in his second round match against Jarkko Nieminen, eighth Janko Tipsarevic is a set to the good against Wimbledon marathon man Nicolas Mahut and SW19 semi-finalist Angelique Kerber is going well against Jana Cepelova.

  3. 1223: 

    That's not it for the Brits, mind. Later today on Court 16, Jamie Murray and his Australian partner John Peers play 15th seeds Julian Knowles of Austria and Filip Polasek of Slovaki in round one of the men's doubles.


    Laura Lambert: Bad luck on heather, attention now turns to Wimbledon and the British contingent will have longer than most to practice on grass .

  5. 1217: 

    ...And with Watson goes Britain's singles hopes at Roland Garros. This is the first time since 2007 no British players are in the second round. Given Andy Murray is injured, Laura Robson was up against a former world number one in Caroline Wozniacki and both Elena Baltacha and Watson were returning from lay-offs, there were significant mitigating circumstances. But it's disappointing all the same.

    Watson 4-6 6-2 4-6 Voegele

    A near-perfect service game from Voegele ends with Watson hooking a crosscourt backhand return into the tramlines. The British number three chucks her racquet to the ground in disgust, but she has nothing to be ashamed about. She lost but she's back, fit, healthy and looking in good form ahead of the grass-court season.

    Watson 4-6 6-2 4-5 Voegele*

    Watson rattles off three commanding points to move to 40-0, Voegele moves her around the court with a delicate drop shot to peg a point back, and then Watson punts long to give her opponent 40-30. What looks like an easy game suddenly appears a little tricky. A perfect time to find a big booming serve in her back pocket and Watson lives to fight at least one more game.

    *Watson 4-6 6-2 3-5 Voegele

    Voegele looks in control of the game with a resounding ace, only to follow it up with a ghastly double-fault. Watson is suddenly bouncing on her toes and comes up with a delicious forehand winner from way out of court. That gives her a break point but she cannot take it. Here's a second break point... squandered. A booming forehand down the line gives Heather a third break point but Voegele races in and taps away a gentle backhand - "short tennis-style," says commentator Russell Fuller on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Is that Watson's chance gone? An error on either side means yes, it is. She'll now serve to stay in the French Open.

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "I'm not ruling Heather Watson out of this one yet by any means because this is exactly the sort of match - a tough three-set battle - that she is used to. She is hitting the ball well, finding some good angles and serving exceptionally well."

    Watson 4-6 6-2 3-4 Voegele*

    If nothing else, Watson will leave Paris with a huge amount of confidence for the rest of the season. Having spent more than two months on the sidelines with glandular fever, her level of performance is extremely encouraging. She remains in contention here thanks to a couple more raking winners and some lovely variation, but the Briton must make her move soon before it's too late.

    Heather Watson
    *Watson 4-6 6-2 2-4 Voegele

    These service games are flying by, which is not a good sign for Heather. Voegele canters to 40-0 and although Watson cuts loose to pick up a point, it proves her undoing as a wayward groundstroke lets Voegele off the hook.

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Just when you think that Watson is losing her way in this match she comes bounding back. That was a terrific service game and there is no sign of her being short of energy despite the last few weeks out of action."


    TV presenter Jonathan Ross: Heather Watson is playing pretty well in the French Open right now. You go girl.

    Watson 4-6 6-2 2-3 Voegele*

    Watson responds with an even more impressive love hold, confirmed with a sublime backhand overhead. Anything you can do...

    *Watson 4-6 6-2 1-3 Voegele

    Hold to love for Voegele. "That was cheap," says commentator Russell Fuller on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, and he wasn't referring to the baguettes at Roland Garros.


    Laura Lambert: Good to see Heather back on fighting form, great second set from her and hopefully she can keep the momentum in the decider.

    Angharad T: Good to hear Watson doing well. A win will give her a major confidence boost. Come on Heather!

    Watson 4-6 6-2 1-2 Voegele*

    Agonising moments for Watson as her groundstrokes go missing and Voegele is presented with another break point... saved. The Swiss gets another bite at the cherry when Watson dunks a drive-volley into the net - she's down on her haunches, yelling with displeasure. The Briton gathers herself to produce a blinding backhand winner and secures a potentially-crucial hold when Voegele sends a defensive lob beyond the baseline.

    *Watson 4-6 6-2 0-2 Voegele

    Voegele looks a different player after that bathroom break. It's having the Murray effect. The Swiss right-hander, clad in sky blue and yellow, holds to 15 and Watson's game disintegrates.

  20. 1140: 

    Agnieszka Radwanska has beaten Mallory Burdette 6-3 6-2 to make the third round while Maria Kirilenko, the 12th seeded Russian, is still a round behind despite her own win. She has thumped Portugal's Nina Bratchikova 6-0 6-1 in an hour and seven minutes to go into the last 64.

    Victoria Azarenka is also into the second round after seeing off Elena Vesnina 6-1 6-4 on Philippe Chatrier. The ever-entertaining Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is next up on the showpiece court, playing Jarkko Nieminen.

    Still very much in progress is Petra Kvitova's match against Tsonga's compatriot Aravane Rezai. Rezai took the second set 6-4 to level the match and has broken Kvitova in the first game of the decider.

    David Ferrer is still well in control leading Albert Montanes 6-2 6-1 3-2 on Court Two.

    Aravane Rezai
    Watson 4-6 6-2 0-1 Voegele*

    ....And that's exactly why I'm not a betting man. A horribly scrappy game from both ladies culminates in Watson letting out a screech of displeasure as Voegele earns a break point and then dragging a forehand just wide. She thinks it is in but Voegele circles the mark and Pascal Maria concurs. Bad start for the British number two.

  22. 1134: 

    Voegele leaves the court for a bathroom break. If it has the effect Andy Murray's did before the fifth set of the US Open final against Novak Djokovic, she'll be unstoppable. Somehow, I can't see Watson letting that happen.

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    "Watson levels with a terrific burst of form, a couple of aces and hammering returns. Fighting spirit never a problem."

  24. 1130: 

    All the momentum seems to be with Heather Watson, can she see it out from here to make the second round? Let's hear your thoughts via #bbctennis on Twitter and 81111 on texts from UK mobiles.

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Everything has gone up a couple of notches from Heather Watson. She has upped the pace between points, started really flowing into her groundstrokes, tightened up her serve and cut down the mistakes. Voegele, meanwhile, has come off the boil from where she was in the first set."

    *Watson 4-6 6-2 Voegele

    From serene to stressed, Voegele is unravelling out there on Court Six. The Swiss comes up with her most desperate service game of the day at the worst possible time to hand over the set with a double-fault. Watson skips to her chair - that's the first set won by a British player at the 2013 French Open.

    Stefanie Voegele
    Watson 4-6 5-2 Voegele*

    This is more like it. Watson follows up her break with a no-nonsense service hold, sealed with back-to-back aces. She has upped her first-serve percentage, hit more winners winners count and cut out the unforced errors. Elementary...

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Heather is fighting hard but also mixing up the pace a little bit. She is not only hitting her groundstrokes well from the back of the court, but also coming up with a few loopy, floating shots to break up Voegele's rhythm and draw some mistakes from her."

    *Watson 4-6 4-2 Voegele

    ...Yes it is. Watson shows relentless aggression to force deuce with a sharp groundstroke that Voegele fails to control on the volley. The Briton then registers a break point as Voegele lifts a forehand beyond the baseline. Under growing pressure, the Swiss appears to fire wide... Watson circles the mark... umpire Pascal Maria agrees.

    Watson 4-6 3-2 Voegele*

    The pressure is capably dealt with by Watson. That was the moment at which she was broken in the first set, but there's no repeat this time as Voegele is pinned back and dictated to. Heather is playing the best tennis of any of the three Britons who have featured in first-round action this week. Is this her chance to strike?

  32. 1117: 

    A quick spin around the grounds shows us that third seed Victoria Azarenka is continuing to make short work of Elena Vesnina. The Belarusian leads 6-3 3-2 with a break in the second set.

    Petra Kvitova is all square at 3-3 in the second set of her match against Aravane Rezai after taking the first 6-3. Agnieszka Radwanska is currently leading in the race back to the locker room after taking at 6-3 5-2 lead over Mallory Burdette.

    David Ferrer will not be too far behind her though after shredding Albert Montanes in the first two sets to lead 6-2 6-1 out on Court Two.

    David Ferrer
    *Watson 4-6 2-2 Voegele

    From the sublime to the average and back again, Watson mixes searing winners with limp errors to make deuce and then a break point - but she can't take her chance and Voegele produces two big serves, the second causing Watson to fire wide, and the pressure swings back to the racquet of the 21-year-old.

    Watson 4-6 2-1 Voegele*

    Voegele followed up her break of serve in the first set with a hold to love, Watson follows up hers by falling to 0-40 and three break points. The Briton digs in to lace two winners on either side, only to drill a tame backhand into the net and undo her good work. Voegele breaks back. Heather leans towards the ground in frustration, but she's still very much in this.

    *Watson 4-6 2-0 Voegele

    'Allo 'Allo! Watson dishes up a deft drop show and laser-guided forehand down the line en route to 15-40 and two break points. The first is saved by Voegele with a thumping ace, but Britain's number two dispatches a backhand winner to convert the second.

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "That is typical of Heather yet again. She looked down and out in a service game but she just keeps hanging in there, asking questions and manages to come up with an ace on break point to help herself come through."

    Jonathan Overend, BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    Long opening game of Set 2 and Watson holds impressively to start the fightback! Commentary here:

    Watson 4-6 1-0 Voegele*

    More trouble for Watson as Voegele forces her way to break point with some eye-catching patterns of play. But the Guernsey right-hander responds with a stunning forehand that kisses the baseline and follows it up with a drop volley that draws the loudest cheers from the crowd so far. A couple of wayward forehands gift Voegele two more break points but both are expertly saved, the second with a rasping ace. Watson brings up game point with a much better forehand and brings a 10-minute game to an end when Voegele plays into the net.

    Heather Watson
  39. 1056: 

    Twitter fans out there may have spotted that Watson utilised yesterday's rain delay to do a bit of sightseeing. "That's about all I did [had a photo at the Arc de Triomphe] - I went for a little walk because our hotel is quite close. We managed to have a hit in the evening and I just rested pretty much. I feel very good and I'm very excited to get on the court."

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "Heather needs to try and make more inroads into the Voegele serve. When you compare the two players there is very little between them, but Voegele is a little more aggressive on the return of serve and has looked like there is a little more potency in her groundstrokes."

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    "Watson doing OK but on the back foot as first serve gone missing. Bit chilly/sunny/chilly..."

    *Watson 4-6 Voegele

    More pressure from Voegele and it tells once more. Watson drives a backhand into the net to hand over two more set points and her 56th-ranked opponents takes the first of those when the British number two whacks a forehand into the tramlines.

  44. 1049: 

    Away from Court Six, there is little sign of any upsets at the top end of the women's draw. Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is a double-break of serve up on Russia's Elena Vesnina on Philippe Chatrier, leading 5-1 in the first set.

    Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova leads crowd favourite Aravane Rezai 5-3, although the Frenchwoman has pegged Kvitova back once as she attempted to serve out for the first set.

    Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded fourth, has sealed the first set against the United States' Mallory Burdette 6-3.

    In the men's draw, David Ferrer has dusted off the opener against fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes in double-quick time, taking it 6-2 in 29 minutes.

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "That was typical Heather, hanging in there on that last service game and piling on the pressure. We will find out how strong Voegele is mentally when she comes out to try and serve out having squandered two set points already."

    Watson 4-5 Voegele*

    Voegele has never won a singles title on the WTA tour but she's displaying the sort of consistency that could take her far. When Watson lets her guard down the Swiss is pouncing and before we know it she gets to 15-40 and two set points. Watson shows plenty of guts to drive-volley her way back into contention and scrapes over the line when Voegele narrowly misses the chalk.

    Heather Watson
    *Watson 3-5 Voegele

    Voegele lists the Simpsons and Friends as her favourite TV programmes - but there's no sign of smiles out there as she continues her progress in business-like fashion. A hold to love means Watson must now serve to stay in the first set.

    Watson 3-4 Voegele*

    A belligerent response from Watson. She appears miffed by that break of serve and holds to 30 to keep tabs on her 23-year-old opponent.

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "It is that yard of pace, that bit of anticipation, moving back and forwards and spinning quickly that you lack after a couple of weeks out or so like Heather has had. Players talk all about rhythm and that is what you need coming into a big tournament.

    "It will come back quickly but you just need matches under your belt to get it."

    *Watson 2-4 Voegele

    How best to follow up a break of serve? Why with a service hold to love, of course. That's exactly what Voegele does as Watson slaps a squash-like forehand into the net. The sun reappears from behind the clouds - but at the moment it's looking gloomy for Britain's last player standing in the singles draw.

    Annabel Croft, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "There is a marked contrast in the way the two players are receiving second serves. Voegele is stepping in and trying to assert herself on the game while Heather Watson is not so confident. I'm sure that Heather is feeling that pressure from over the opposite side of the net, it was definitely evident at 30-30, scoreline pressure adds to it."

    Watson 2-3 Voegele*

    That moment of misfortune comes back to haunt Watson as Voegele gets to 30-40 and a first break point of the day. The Swiss put in so much hard work to get there, only to dump a lazy forehand into the net. However, she's given a second break point and this time converts it after Watson repays the compliment with a forehand wide.

    *Watson 2-2 Voegele

    A first look-in for Watson as she grinds her way to deuce and presses for an early break of serve. Voegele works her way out of trouble with a touch of good fortune as, on game point, she appears to benefit from a let that was never called. Where's cyclops when you need him?


    Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman: Voegele moonballing already. Watson playing balls almost from linesmen's laps.

  55. 1025: 

    If you want to listen to commentary of this match, make BBC Radio 5 live sports extra your home for the next hour or two. Former British number one Annabel Croft currently on duty alongside Nick Lester.

    Watson 2-1 Voegele*

    Watson expertly dispatches an off-forehand approach to seal a love hold and maintain her early progress. So far, so good.

    *Watson 1-1 Voegele

    "That's the first sign of rustiness for Heather," says former British number one Annabel Croft on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra as Voegele comfortably replies to Watson's impressive start.

  58. 1018: 

    Watson has declared herself "90-95%" fit at the moment but, make no mistake, she will expect herself to beat Voegele today. She is ranked seven places higher than her Swiss opponent - it would be more were it not for an illness-induced rankings drop. While their head-to-head record stands at 1-1, Watson won their only encounter on clay; 6-4 6-4 in Roland Garros qualifying two years ago.

    Watson 1-0 Voegele*

    Court Six, of course, was the scene of Watson's victory over Elena Vesnina in the first round last year. The British number two picks up where she left off with a confidence-boosting service hold to 30, sealed as Voegele bashes a forehand way beyond the baseline.

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    "Sunglasses & waterproofs on hand on court 6 to see Watson return after two months out, plenty of Brits giving her a warm reception."

  61. 1012: 

    You may wonder why Watson is playing her first-round match on day FOUR of the French Open. Blame the rain that wreaked havoc on the Roland Garros schedule yesterday. Fortunately, the sun is out today and although it's not too warm - a high of 16C is expected - we're not complaining. They're out on court, the warm-up is complete and we're about to get started. Bonne journee...

  62. 1010:  
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    "Heather Watson is finally about to get back on court after two months out and she will do so in bright Paris sunshine, which is something of a miracle in itself. The last Briton standing (in singles) faces a tough task against Stefanie Voegele, but she could not have been more upbeat when she faced the media, saying how excited she was to pack her bags and head out to a Grand Slam once again. 'I couldn't miss the French,' she said. The risk with glandular fever is coming back too early - we are about to get an idea of whether she has got her timing right."


    Former British number one Greg Rusedski: Good luck to @HeatherWatson92 today, first match back since having glandular fever.

    Daily Mail tennis correspondent Mike Dickson: Decent Paris morning for Heather Watson's comeback this morning. But it's asking a lot for her to win on clay after glandular fever.

  64. 1005: 

    That Briton is Heather Watson and she's playing her first match of any description since March - not to mention her first on clay in almost a year. Watson faces Stefanie Voegele in round one of the French Open after more than two months out with glandular fever. The last time there was no British player in the second round of Roland Garros was 2007. No pressure then...

    Heather Watson
  65. 1000: 

    First of all Andy Murray was ruled out with a back injury...

    Andy Murray

    Then came Laura Robson's humbling by Caroline Wozniacki...

    Laura Robson

    That was followed by Elena Baltacha falling to Marina Erakovic...

    Elena Baltacha

    All of which left one Briton in the French Open singles draw...

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