The Fed Cup World Group II Play-offs tie between Romania and Great Britain had Simona Halep and Heather Watson up on court first, with the top 10 player hoping to leave an impressive impression in front of her home crowd while Watson would look to create the huge upset. It turned out to be the result everyone expected as the more consistent and solid player steered her way to the victory after just 1 hour and 10 minutes, helping Romania to get the first point in their hands.
Halep steals the first set
Starting the first Fed Cup match of the weekend, Watson looked to be under a huge amount of pressure as the underdog fell behind by an early break in the opening game of the match, where unforced errors proved to be costly. In a match where the winner was quite predictable from the start, Watson provided a tough fight and broke straight back to level the scores at 1-1, erasing Halep’s lead all of a sudden.
Steady on her serve, coupled with some excellent precision and shot placements, Watson earned the first service hold of the afternoon to gain the lead for the first time. Halep then showed everyone that she can also do the same by having her own hold of service, keeping the scores tight. Thought to be the golden opportunity to break serve, Halep earned a break point in the fifth game to have the chance to regain the lead.
Fighting with tenacity and for her country, Watson held her nerves to narrowly secure the service hold and barely took a 3-2 lead to remain in front on the scoreboard. Several tight holds of serve followed as the Brit went to deuce in her next return game and Halep took a 15-30 lead in the seventh game, but none was still able to make a proper breakthrough.
However, the next break of serve came at the most crucial moment of the match. The ninth game saw Watson play a loose game when unforced errors got the better of her, gifting Halep in what was the most important game of the match, allowing her to have the chance to serve out the first set. Halep did not disappoint, sealing the first set 6-4 after just 45 minutes in front of her supportive home fans to be just halfway from the victory.
Watson loses six games in a row to lose the match
Watson had an encouraging start to the second set as she began the set playing some inspiring tennis, holding serve comfortably in the opening game. However, Halep showed everybody that she can also secure a fast service hold as she did not concede any points on her way to sealing her first game of the set. Unexpectedly, it was only one-way traffic from then on as Halep won her eighth consecutive point to get the early break and look to close out the match comfortably.
Watson’s woes continued as she failed to convert a break point in the fourth game after an easy backhand sailed wide from her, wasting that golden opportunity to break straight back. The pressure and expectations seem to have taken a toll on her as Watson eventually fell in straight sets, conceding defeat after just 70 minutes to gift Romania the first point in the match where she failed to take her chances well.