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British women bow out of French Open

Posted 05-31-2011 at 01:05 PM by Philip Oliver
It was great while it lasted but the British female challenge at the French Open came to a predictably abrupt end in the second round at the French Open.
Elena Baltacha and Heather Watson became the first British female pair to make it past the first round in Paris since Jo Durie and Sara Gomer in 1992.

British number one Baltacha's battling 7-5 6-2 over American Sloane Stephens in the first round had raised hopes of an extended run in the tournament. Back in '92 Durie made it to a round further, but any hopes of a repeat were dashed by Vania King, who progressed 4-6 6-1 6-4 in two hours, five minutes. It was a good effort, especially as the Brits were never French Open best bets.

Fellow Brit Heather Watson also crashed out at the second round stage, despite a brave performance against 16th seed Kaia Kanepi. She can take lot from this tournament though, especially her perofmance against Stephanie Foretz Gacon, a result which should see here pierce the top 100.

The poor state of women's and men's tennis for that matter is one that has been debated for decades, but in 19-year-old Watson there is a genuine hope of a brighter future. Anyone who had placed French Open tennis bets would have been impressed.

True, there was a gulf in class between here and Kanepi, but it will go down as a learning experience for the Guernsey-born star, who had never been beyond the first round of a grand slam before.

Watson, along with fellow youngster Laura Robson, is the future of women's tennis in this country I only hope the annual bout of patriotic hysteria that is Wimbledon doesn't place too much pressure on her young shoulders to soon. I won't hold my breath though!
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