Tennis: Aussie Open escape artist Heather Watson pulled off another thrilling comeback today to book her place in the third round in Melbourne.
The British number one fought off three match points in a second-set tie break before battling back to beat Ksenia Pervak 4-6 7-6 (9/7) 6-2.
The comeback queen will now face a daunting showdown with fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-3 6-3.
Asked if she thought she had missed her chance to progress, Watson, who makes the last 32 of a grand slam for the second time in her career, replied: “I’m not going to lie, I did a wee bit.
“But I just pushed it to the back of my mind and said: ‘She’s going to have to win this.’ I just didn’t want to give it away.”
Watson knows that Radwanska will provide a sterner test, especially as the Pole thrashed her in their only previous encounter.
“She’s a very different player to most of the girls,” said Watson. “She’s consistent, got great feel so it’s going to be another physical match.
“I think the last time I played her I just went out all guns blazing, went for way too much.
“This time I’m coming in a different player and I’m going to approach it differently.”
Elsewhere defending men’s singles champion Novak Djokovic breezed past Ryan Harrison of the US 6-1 6-2 6-3.
The Serbian, who will face Radek Stepanek next, said: “I managed to get some important breaks at the start of the match and then I was a set up after 20 minutes and had the mental advantage.”
Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova, who have 11 grand slam titles between them, will face each other in a mouthwatering third round clash.
Williams, the 25th seed, had little trouble defeating Alize Cornet of France 6-3 6-3, while Sharapova continued her ruthless start to the championship by seeing off the challenge of Misaki Doi of Japan 6-0 6-0.
China’s sixth seed Li Na beat Olga Govortsova 6-2 7-5, while Li’s compatriot Zheng Jie caused an upset by defeating home favourite and ninth seed Sam Stosur 6-4 1-6 7-5.
Stosur said: “At 5-2 up in the third, double break, it probably is a bit of a choke, yeah.”
British number one Andy Murray was due to Joao Sousa in the second round in the early hours of tomorrow morning, with Laura Robson also due on court against former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Also in action tomorrow are defending women’s singles champion Victoria Azarenka, who begins the day in the Rod Laver Arena against Eleni Daniilidou of Greece. Later in the day Serena Williams takes on Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.
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