Watson left with uphill task in bid for victory
HEATHER WATSON has plenty of work to do to reach the second round of the French Open after rain interrupted her match against Nicole Gibbs at Roland Garros.
The players returned to Court 3 after a near three-hour rain break with Gibbs leading by a set, but Watson found her form to level in less than 10 minutes.
However, it was the American who had the better of the remaining play and will resume today leading by a break at 7-5, 2-6, 2-1.
Watson declared herself happy with her form going into the tournament, but she has been carrying the extra pressure of trying to secure her place at the Rio Olympics. At 54 in the standings, the British No 2 should be safe, but victory over Gibbs, who is her doubles partner this week, would make sure.
Petra Kvitova, meanwhile, survived a major scare to reach the second round.
The 10th seed and two-time Wimbledon champion was cruising at a set and 3-0 up on Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, but had to dig deep to come through 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
In damp and heavy conditions, Kvitova found herself staring down the barrel when Kovinic, ranked 57 in the world, served for the match at 5-4 in the decider. However, Kvitova, no stranger to long matches, found her form just in time to come through after two hours and 16 minutes.
More play was possible than a miserable forecast had suggested, but fewer than a third of matches were completed.
Last year’s runner-up, Lucie Safarova, was interrupted by a lengthy rain break, but did not let that affect her as she eased past Vitalia Diatchenko 6-0, 6-2.
Laura Robson, meanwhile, remains convinced her tennis dreams are still achievable. Ever since she won the Wimbledon junior title aged 14, great things have been expected of her but, eight years later, she goes into the French Open as the lowest-ranked player in the draw.
Robson is using her protected ranking of 58 to play in Paris, but is currently rated the 329th-best player in the world.
“There’s no reason why I can’t get back to where I was, if not better,” said Robson.
WATSON: Rio on her mind in Paris . . .