By Lee Dover | Wimbledon
The also-rans of the Wimbledon Championships are starting to get rounded off, as the business end of the tournament comes more and more into focus.
However, one name buzzing around the All England Club is a woman who was hardly known to the tennis scene just a few days ago – Heather Watson.
The 20-year-old is still getting to grips with the professional world of tennis but many who have seen her skills on the court over the past few days would think she had been playing with the pros for decades.
Watson began her challenge for Wimbledon glory on Monday (June 27) on the intimidating Centre Court.
A British lady had never won in this particular arena in singles competition since Jo Durie achieved the feat way back in 1985.
This unwanted record evaporated quickly though, when Watson marched onto court and beat Iveta Benesova. It was not just any ordinary victory though – the Brit thrashed her Czech opponent 6-2, 6-1, as though to declare that her time was now.
Two days later and Watson was back at SW19 once more, this time to face a tricky American opponent in Jamie Lee Hampton. Once again though, the Brit took her adversary to the cleaners with a dominating 6-1, 6-4 win. Game, set and match indeed.
It won’t be three and easy for Watson
Of course, as Wimbledon progresses, the competition just keeps on getting harder. For Watson, her toughest challenge yet may well be in the form of world number three Agnieszka Radwanska.
Paddy Power is offering 7/2 for Watson to shake the foundations of tennis and defeat Radwanska, while 1/6 is the price for the Polish starlet to offer too much for the Brit to handle.
So is Watson scared of the task set out ahead of her? Nope, not at all, with the 20-year-old stating: “Oh, definitely not terrifying. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it. I’m in the third round now. I’m relaxed about it, as well.”
With all the furore surrounding Watson, one could easily forget about the rest of the action at SW19 today.
Now that would be foolish, as six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer prepares to face French threat Julien Benneteau, while in a salivating tie reigning champ Novak Djokovic prepares for battle against world number 28 Radek Stepanek.
After Rafael Nadal’s shock exit at the hands of world number 100 Lukas Rosol yesterday, both Federer and Djokovic will be rubbing their hands with glee and keen to progress in double-quick time.
Oh, and there is also a tie between Maria Sharapova and Su-Wei Hsieh which fans will not want to turn their eyes away from. The Russian starlet is powering through the competition and is now 2/1 favourite with Paddy Power to win the women’s crown this year.
Phew, it’s going to be an exciting day.