Sara Errani, the fourteenth seed, was up against British number two and qualifier, Heather Watson. The Italian and Brit had met once before today, in Wuhan back in 2014 where the Italian on in straight sets.
Errani went into the match as the odds-on favourite to win, the ranking disparity and the head to head pointed to a straightforward victory for the Italian. Watson had not scored a win against a top 20 player so far in the season and was looking to change that stat.
Watson and Errani exchanged breaks in the first set, the Brit though found herself in the ascendency. With the score on 5-3 in favour of Watson, the Italian had the trainer on for a strain suffered earlier in the set. On reaching for a ball Errani doubled up in pain and appeared to have damaged a rib.
After treatment, the seed was able to continue and win the next game before the Brit broke at the end of the set to take the lead 6-3 and in doing so had taken the first ever set against Errani.
Errani fights back
Whatever had been troubling the Italian in the first set, was not appearing to give her any bother as she raced into a 4-0 lead against the Brit in the second. Watson was in a rut, but suddenly the British number two found something extra and pulled the score to within one game at 4-3.
Errani had too much of a lead to lose the set though and when the Brit was forced to stay in the set, the seed once again broke serve to level that match at one set all. The Brit would have her work cut out to win the final set with the experience of Errani coming to the fore in the match.
Watson secures the win
The Brit was going to have to dig deep to make the second round and in the process secure the first top 20 win of the season. This is exactly what Watson did, breaking the Italian in the very first game.
No matter what Errani threw at the Brit, she stood firm. Taken to deuce in game four was the closest the Italian came to troubling Watson.The seed was not able to do anything with how well the Brit was playing.
The Italian as in trouble and knew it, the Brit was on a roll in the set, Watson found herself 5-0 up and serving for the match, to take the last set with a bagel against the fourteenth seed would be an amazing achievement.
Errani was not going to make it easy for Watson though and took a point. The Brit, however, was in no mood to lose engineering match points. She only needed one of them to defeat Errani and claim the biggest win of the year so far.