US Open 2014: Heather Watson outplayed by Sorana Cirstea

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Flushing Meadow
Heather Watson
Heather Watson has overcome glandular fever to rise to number 45 in the world rankings
US Open, Flushing Meadows, New York
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Heather Watson was completely outplayed as she lost to Romania's Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the US Open.

After facing Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Simona Halep on previous visits to New York, a meeting with Cirstea appeared to offer Watson a chance of progress.

But the British number one held serve just once as she went down 6-1 6-1 in 54 minutes at Flushing Meadows.

It was a superb performance from the unseeded Cirstea, who had only won 10 times this year heading into the match.

"She hasn't been in great form and I've been having a great year, and I didn't expect to play like this," said Watson.

"I thought I was playing pretty well in practice, but it's a Grand Slam and everybody is going to bring it no matter how they're feeling."

Cirstea has dropped from 22nd in the world to 80th this year, in marked contrast to Watson's 35 wins and a ranking on the rise at 45.

Heather Watson
Watson only held her serve once against Sorana Cirstea

However, the former US Open junior champion's positivity disappeared quickly as she appeared shaken by the Romanian's strong start on Court 13.

Cirstea hit three aces in her second service game to stamp her authority on the contest and Watson, already feeling the pressure, then double-faulted on break point to fall 3-1 behind.

The 22-year-old from Guernsey fought off two more break points in game six but could do nothing about a flashing forehand winner from Cirstea on the third, and there was no way back.

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
"Top-five players wouldn't always play as well as Cirstea did in her opening set. Some venomous serving and ball striking left Watson with it all do to, but it was disappointing to see her game unravel so badly in the second set. The second serve needs attention but, on a positive note, Watson could still find herself at a career-high ranking by the end of the year."

Despite managing to recover an early break, the second set was a disaster for Watson.

She failed to win a single point on her second serve - ending with a woeful 12% on that key statistic - made five double faults and 15 unforced errors.

"It can't get much worse," Watson was heard to say at one point as the match raced away from her and, when another double fault offered Cirstea two match points, the Romanian cracked a forehand winner past the helpless Briton.

"It was an opportunity on paper but she still played very well, and I give her a lot of credit," said Watson. "She served well, hit quite a few aces, me not so much.

"I couldn't find my serve, I'm not quite sure why, but I've got to look back and improve on that."

She added: "It's disappointing leaving after a first-round loss here, especially after my year and the confidence I've gained.

"But it's just another week, and I'm going to have a lot more weeks."

Match stats
Sorana CirsteaHeather Watson
1Double faults8
53%1st serve %49%
68%1st serve win %67%
76%2nd serve win %12%
11Unforced errors23
6/9Break points won1/1
Match time: 54 minutes
Heather Watson
The Briton was broken early in the first set and lost 6-1 in just 26 minutes
Heather Watson
Watson made eight double faults and won just 12% of points on her second serve
Heather Watson (left_ with Sorana Cirstea
The 22-year-old's wait for a first win at Flushing Meadows since winning the junior title in 2009 continues