Heather Watson takes confidence despite Serena Williams loss

Heather Watson

British number one Heather Watson said she has proved she can compete with the best after getting within two points of beating Serena Williams at Wimbledon.

The 23-year-old from Guernsey served for the match against the world number one but lost 6-2 4-6 7-5 in front of a partisan Centre Court crowd.

"I was two points away from winning, so I'm pretty disappointed," said Watson.

"I've learnt that I can compete with the best in the world and I can play really good tennis."

Justine Henin, former world number one
"Not only did Heather hit the ball very well, she played a perfect match tactically. She was very good in defence and tried to put some pressure on Serena. But what Heather missed was hitting more winners. To make the difference she could be more aggressive."

Watson was cheered on by a raucous Centre Court crowd, which was warned on several occasions by the umpire as they reacted to shots mid-point.

"It was the loudest the crowd has ever been for me," added Watson. "I was getting goose bumps and loved every second. I am just disappointed I couldn't win it for them.

"I gave myself the opportunity to play against the best player in the world.

"I also gave myself the opportunity to beat her. I didn't take it this time. But I'm really glad I was in that situation because I can learn from it and do better next time."

Crowd shocked Serena

Williams, 33, remains on track to win a fourth straight major title and the win inched her closer towards a calendar-year Grand Slam, but the American was pushed hard by Watson.

Judy Murray, GB Fed Cup captain
"I hope she can get over it quite quickly as this was the first time she has been in such a position against the best player in the world. But if Heather is realistic, she will use that to her advantage and say 'I can hang with the best of them'."

"She should have won the match. I think she played unbelievable," said Williams.

"She could get beyond the top 20, she is playing really well," she added.

"She should set her sights higher. She was playing so good there was nothing I could do."

And the five-time Wimbledon champion admitted she had never experienced such a partisan crowd at the All England Club, adding that she was surprised at how they reacted to her complaints about distracting mid-rally noise.

"I never saw a crowd like this, they were really into it," added Williams, who will play sister and five-time champion Venus in the next round.

"I've never seen them this vocal or heard boos here, so that was new for me, but I've been through it all."

Analysis, BBC Tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
"Watson may have had a double break advantage in the deciding set, and served for the match, but this was not an opportunity she threw away.
"Playing to a level that seemed beyond her, Watson's defence was outstanding and the game plan spot on.
"Deep ball striking will only get you so far against Serena Williams, and so the drop shots and sliced forehands were crucial in breaking up the world number one's rhythm.
"The defeat will hurt in the short term, but the knowledge that she can compete with the very best should be worth its weight in gold."
Fans at Centre Court
The Centre Court crowd, led by a clutch of yellow-clad Australian fans, produced an atmosphere more akin to Davis Cup than Wimbledon
Heather Watson and Serena Williams depart
Serena Williams (back left) will play sister and five-time champion Venus in the next round

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