It was a nervy, intense encounter, but Heather Watson has seen off Australian Samantha Stosur 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 to join fellow Brits Andy Murray, Johanna Konta, Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund in the second round of the Australian Open.
Both players had the upper hand at various points during the match, with the home favourite’s ferocious power proving a particularly deadly weapon. However, Watson eventually hit the ground running and capitalised on Stosur’s 47 unforced errors.
As can be seen in the video above, Watson was magnanimous in victory, recognising the pressure Stosur was under from the home crowd. We especially like how she drew an audible gasp by saying “I actually think it was pretty cool here today for Australia…”
Overall, it was a patient and measured, but far from perfect, performance in difficult circumstances from the British No. 2, who will now look to build on the momentum against the USA’s Jennifer Brady in the second round.
Konta and Edmund turn on the style
Elsewhere, it was more good news for British tennis fans as Johanna Konta, who is currently at the top of her game, advanced into the second round with a 7-5 6-2 victory over Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.
World No.70 Flipkens got off to a good start, but Konta quickly recovered and later dominated the second set. “It was incredibly tricky. She has the kind of game that can trouble any player,” admitted Konta to the BBC.
“I tried to play myself into the match and I’m happy to be through. A lot has happened in the last year and I’m just enjoying playing and trying to get better every day.” She will face Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the second round.
Kyle Edmund also managed to soldier through the hazy, 35°C heat to dispatch Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo 6-2 7-5 6-3. The straight-sets victory was a bit of a contrast to last year’s tournament, where Edmund suffered from cramp and went out at the first hurdle. The World No.46 will meet Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t such a good day for British No.3 Naomi Broady, who fell by the wayside after a spirited 3-6 6-4 7-5 performance against Australia’s Daria Gavrilova. It was Broady’s first time in the Australian Open main draw and, although it’s cold comfort, she can draw positives taking Gavrilova (who is ranked 71 places above Broady) all the way – hitting 19 aces in the process.