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Wimbledon: Heather Watson’s hopes of first major quarter-final ended by Jule Niemeier

Wimbledon: Heather Watson’s hopes of first major quarter-final ended by Jule Niemeier
Wimbledon: Heather Watson’s hopes of first major quarter-final ended by Jule Niemeier
Heather Watson
Heather Watson was bidding to reach her first major singles quarter-final in her 42nd Grand Slam
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Britain’s Heather Watson saw her hopes of reaching a first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon ended in a straight-set defeat by Jule Niemeier.

Watson lost 6-2 6-4 on Centre Court in a match preceded by a celebration to mark the show court’s centenary year.

Watson, who was played on every day of the tournament so far, broke serve at the start of the second set but was not able to maintain the advantage.

German world number 97 Niemeier, 22, meets compatriot Tatjana Maria next.

Maria saved match points as she came back to stun 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko 5-7 7-5 7-5.

Watson’s memorable run brought to an end

Watson’s journey to a first major fourth round appearance had a bit of everything.

First, she celebrated an emotional opening victory over Tamara Korpatsch on her return to Court One – the stage she experienced a “disaster” when she went out in the first round last year having held match point.

Both her first two singles matches were played over two days because of late finishes, while the British number four said there was always going to be “a bit of drama” as she withstood Kaja Juvan’s late resurgence to secure her breakthrough third-round win on Friday.

That victory saw her finally enter the singles fourth round at a Slam for the first time in 42 attempts, seven years on from when she served for the same goal against American great Serena Williams at SW19.

Sunday’s preceding centenary celebrations ensured there was already an excited atmosphere as Watson emerged for her first Centre Court match of her 12th Wimbledon appearance.

Watson, who dropped out of Top 100 in February, defeated Niemeier in a final-set tie-break in their only previous meeting at Monterrey earlier this season.

However, it was Niemeier, in only her second Grand Slam main-draw appearance, who took charge to temper the partisan home support.

The German, who broke into the top 100 for the first time in May, held to love for 2-2 as she claimed five straight games.

A forehand winner concluded the first set inside half an hour, but Watson responded at the start of the second.

She survived a break point to eventually hold with a winner and then a Niemeier miss gave her a first break of the match.

But the elation that greeted that moment was not allowed to last long as Watson followed a double fault with an unforced error to allow Niemeier to hit back immediately.

A comfortable Niemeier hold restored parity and, after two close games, the German was able to produce the decisive blow as two Watson double faults helped her to a 4-3 lead.

A couple of forehand winners ensured she consolidated the break after trailing 0-30 and although Watson forced her to serve out the match, Niemeier ensured she would move on when the Briton missed a volley.

Ostapenko toppled by Maria

Former French Open champion Ostapenko was unable to take two match points in the second set as she eventually fell to the 34-year-old Maria.

The German world number 103, the oldest player left in the draw, fought back from 15-40 down to hold serve for 5-5 before taking that set following a break in the 11th game.

She then sealed her first Grand Slam singles quarter-final with her second match point, as she served for the win for a second time.

Maria has previously taken maternity breaks from tennis following the birth of her two daughters, returning to the sport for a second time last July.

“It makes me so proud to be a mum,” she said. “That’s the best thing in the world. I love my kids. To be able to do it together, it makes it really special.”

Latvia’s Ostapenko threw her water bottle down in frustration following defeat, knocking over her chair with some spectators booing on Court One.

Meanwhile, Czech Marie Bouzkova, 23, closed out victory over France’s Caroline Garcia by winning the final five games to progress 7-5 6-2.

The world number 66, who like German players Niemeier and Maria will contest her first major quarter-final, will face Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur or Belgian 24th seed Elise Mertens.

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