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Watson sets the Heather alight; Brit is too hot to handle for ice queen Daniela WIMBLEDON: DAY THREE.

HEATHER WATSON learned an invaluable lesson yesterday. If you really must go toe to toe with one of these ice queens from eastern Europe you might as well do it at Wimbledon, on the hottest day here since records began.

But it wasn't the industrial strength sunshine that melted the challenge of leggy Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.

Rather it was a performance from Watson which at times was little short of scintillating.

In fact so perfect was the girl from Guernsey that not only was she crushing her in opponent in straight sets she was also taking on an entire team of line judges and doing their jobs for them.

Time after time she called them out and on almost every occasion her challenge was vindicated. It felt as if Watson was incapable of doing any wrong and, caught in the middle of this cauldron, Hantuchova did not stand a chance.

The 32-year-old might be straight off the Stepford-ova Wives production line of tennisbots but she was having her game systematically broken down.

The two had walked out into this bubbling, paella pan of an arena just before 4pm when all of Wimbledon was in danger of wilting. They were dropping like flies round the foot of Henman Hill and those who were not busy passing out were queueing up at the ice-cream stalls and forming a snaking line around Court No.1. Inside, Watson was also struggling and soon found herself 3-1 down. But it was then that this 23-year-old began to fight fire with fire. All at once she became a shimmering bundle of bounce and energy.

Watson rattled off four games in quick succession to storm into a 5-3 lead. Her opponent just about stopped the rot by holding in the ninth game before being bulldozed again.

Watson celebrated taking the set by clenching a fist and the crowd responded with a roar.

Hantuchova was lost in the middle of it all and when she dropped her serve at the start of the second set - beaten by a fluke return - she knew her luck had run out too.

At round about this stage some character, fuelled by a pint of Pimm's too many, was heard to shout, "Come on Emma" - mixing up Wimbledon's leading lady with the one from Hogwarts.

Mind you, it did seem as if Watson was holding a wand in her right hand.

Hantuchova was quickly 4-1 down and her only hope of salvation was coming from the line judges who made a succession of bad calls - only for Watson to have them overruled.

Nothing was about to stop her reaching the third round even though she admitted afterwards her lips and mouth were so dry she could barely manage a smile when victory was secured.

Then again perhaps the identity of her next opponent was beginning to dawn on her.

Watson may have equalled her best Wimbledon by reaching the third round but that's where her hot streak ends.

With world No.1 Serena Williams - a 6-4 6-1 victor over Timea Babos - next up, Watson will need more than a heatwave to win. She'll need a miracle.

CAPTION(S):

WAT A DAY British No.1 Watson roars with joy after sealing her superb win

BLOWN AWAY Slovak ace Daniela

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 2, 2015
Words:545
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