Watson misses out on final after Eastbourne loss to Keys

Heather Watson.Heather Watson.
Heather Watson.
Heather Watson’s run in Eastbourne came to an end with a semi-final defeat by rising star Madison Keys at the Aegon International.

Watson was the first British player to contest a last-four match at the tournament since Jo Durie 32 years ago and was looking to make the biggest final of her career.

But she could not cope with the power of 19-year-old Keys, who also won their encounter in the first round of Wimbledon last year. Watson was still struggling to get over glandular fever at that stage and had high hopes of a different outcome this time but it was not to be as Keys eased to a 6-3 6-1 victory.

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In her first WTA Tour final, the American will play fifth seed Angelique Kerber, who battled past Caroline Wozniacki 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 6-3.

Despite the loss it has been a hugely positive week for Watson, who secured the first top-20 scalp of her career by beating Flavia Pennetta in round two.

She should see her ranking climb around 10 spots from its current position of 70 ahead of Wimbledon, where she will open her campaign against another talented young player, Croatian Ajla Tomljanovic.

Laura Robson admits she must start her career from scratch as she recovers from major wrist surgery that could keep her sidelined for almost a year.

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Robson will target January’s Australian Open as her next major tournament after going under the knife in April on her injured left wrist, which she initially damaged in December 2013.

The 20-year-old expects to compete in UK challenger tournaments in a bid for fitness, form and ranking points once she completes her protracted recovery.

Robson said she “felt like a child again” in the aftermath of her operation, struggling to dress herself and cut her own food.

Itching to return to action, Robson said she has been reduced to tears, at times frustrated with rehabilitation while her peers train and compete.

“I don’t actually know my recovery timescale,” said Robson.

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“The most important thing is not to rush it. I kept trying to come back too soon, and that kept making it worse.

“In a way it’s like starting from scratch, starting all over again – but I do have the experience of four or five years behind me which is a big help.

“It’s a challenge – I get to play all my favourite Challengers in England again.

“It’s all part of the recovery process. I’ll have a protected ranking, so will be able to choose some tournaments and come up with a smart schedule, and see how it goes.”