Heather Watson beaten by Elise Mertens in French Open second round

Heather Watson
Watson won just two of her service games, making five double-faults, in an erratic display
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, the BBC Sport website and app.

British number two Heather Watson was unable to reach the French Open third round for the first time after losing to 16th seed Elise Mertens.

Watson, 26, paid the price for a slow start in a 6-3 6-4 defeat.

The world number 80 could not hold any of her opening seven service games and trailed 4-1 in the second set.

She briefly rallied to level at 4-4 but dropped serve again and has now lost all six of her second-round matches at Roland Garros.

"I would get on a hot streak and win a couple games, and then I would just make four unforced errors, and that needs to change," said Watson.

"And I had a low first-serve percentage on my serve and wasn't getting as many free points as I would have liked."

Watson has endured a tough start to the year in terms of results, winning just once before her opening win at Roland Garros against France's Oceane Dodin.

Mertens, in contrast, reached the her first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open in January, as well as winning three WTA titles.

The 22-year-old Belgian's confidence, boosted by a large number of boisterous fans from her home country, helped her ease into a 3-0 lead before clinching a strange opening set which saw eight breaks of serve.

Groans from the smaller British contingent could be heard when Watson lost her opening service game of the second set on the way to Mertens moving into a 4-1 lead.

Watson somehow rediscovered her game, winning three games in a row to level, only to lose her serve again in what proved to be the final game.

Martens, who wrapped up victory in one hour 27 minutes, has reached the last 32 for the second successive year and will meet either Australian 24th seed Daria Gavrilova or Bernarda Pera of the United States.

Meanwhile, British number one Johanna Konta finally got a French Open win under her belt.

Konta - knocked out in the first round in the singles for the last four years - and partner Dominic Inglot beat French duo Evan Furness and Fiona Ferro in the mixed doubles.

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