How The Brits Fared: Second Round Singles Recap
Photo: FFT

So today the Brits played their round 2 singles matches. There were three Brits who had made it into Round 2, unfortunately only 2 of them would play their 2nd round match.

Kyle Edmund who would have been playing his match against Nick Kyrgios withdrew yesterday before the match took place, he reported an abdominal injury that he had actually had before playing the match against Robert. So Andy Murray was alone again in the main draw on the ATP side, something he is sadly used to these days. 

Murray came out to play against Sousa of Portugal (not to be confused with Souza) and took a while to find his feet in this match.  It wasn't long though before Murray was starting to find his game against the lower ranked player and broke in the first game, which lasted at least twelve minutes. It was all he needed, and did not face a breakpoint on his own serve all set, and served out to 30 to take the first set 6-2. 

In the 2nd set Sousa started to play better as he had nothing to lose by this point, and was swinging freely, in the eighth game of the set Sousa broke Murray to love (with the assistance of a lucky net cord) meaning he would be serving for the 2nd set. Murray was not having any of this though and immediately got the break of serve back again, only for Sousa to earn the breakpoint and set point in the next game. He took it and the match was level at one set each, incidentally this was the first time in six meetings that Sousa had managed to take a set from Murray. This was their first meeting on clay, which is the favoured surface of the Portuguese player. 

Moving into the 3rd set and despite facing break points in the 4th game which he saved impressively, Murray also had to face a very questionable time violation but it did not effect him as it would have done earlier in his career. In fact this just seemed to spur Murray on and he broke Sousa in game seven. Murray also seemed to have been reunited with his first serve (which seemed to disappear in the 2nd set) and served out only losing one point on his two service games. 

The fourth set and the momentum had by this time switched to Murray as he was in the ascendancy and was not letting this go, breaking Sousa in the first game of the set. In his next three service games Murray lost only three points, and in between broke Sousa once more to find the scoreline at 5-1 with Sousa serving to stay in the match, which the Portuguese was not able to do as Murray broke to 15 and took the match on the first match point.

The other match in Round 2 for the Brits was Heather Watson against Sloane Stephens. Watson had defeated Stephens once already this year on the way to the WTA Hobart title, so this was an interesting rematch. Stephens is better on clay than on hard court (which is the surface Hobart is played on) and therefore Watson went in as the underdog and with the lower ranking this should be a win for Stephens. Watson was nursing an arm injury as was clear from the strapping being worn on the arm. 

Sadly, for this author, the first set was a very one-sided affair with Watson being broken three times in the set. One of the breaks was recovered but it was not enough as Stephens went on to win the first set 6-2. In the 2nd set Watson was again broken in the first game of the set, but from there held her service games without facing another break point until game seven when she saved four break points before holding. This gave Watson some confidence as Stephens was broken in the next game to bring it back on serve. Unfortunately for Watson, the very next game Stephens broke to love before serving out the match the very next game. Watson did admit to having an injury but did not blame the loss today on this physical condition.