KATOWICE, POLAND – Heather Watson battled to three sets but was edged out in the first round of the Katowice Open by Kristyna Pliskova.
The ‘other’ Pliskova, ranked 88 in the world, was put under pressure straight away by Watson, fending off three break points, and a further break point a couple of games later, before taking her first chance over the Watson serve to strike first.
It was enough to put Watson under pressure, and she would break at the end of the set to take the lead.
Watson started the second set far brighter, breaking Pliskova twice before the Czech was able to get one of the breaks back, before Watson sealed the set with an end-break of their own to level the match.
The decider started badly for the Brit, in a hard fought third game where Watson was forced to save four break points before finally succumbing to a double break mountain to climb. She broke back to close the gap and started to threaten a little more, putting Pliskova on the defensive but the single break was too much of a hill for the Brit to get over, bowing out in three sets to the lower ranked Czech.
It is probably a tough ask for British No. 3 to make a run to the title, snaring the maximum points to take her past Watson in the rankings, but the field is now wide open, Still Broady has to overcome Karin Knapp, wo has been out with injury since the US Open last year, only returning to the tour in Miami.
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