Australian Open 2015: Watson, Ward and Edmund all out

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
Kyle Edmund, Heaher Watson and James Ward
Edmund, Watson and Ward's elimination leaves Andy Murray as the only representative in the senior singles draw
  • Ward loses to Verdasco in four sets
  • British number two misses set point to lead 2-1
  • Watson unwell in defeat by Pironkova
  • Edmund beaten in straight sets by Johnson

Britain's players suffered a disappointing day two at the Australian Open as Heather Watson, James Ward and Kyle Edmund all lost.

Ward, the British number two, came closest to victory but went down 2-6 6-0 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 to Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

British number one Watson struggled with illness in a 6-4 6-0 loss to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.

Also in round one, Edmund lost 6-4 6-4 6-3 to American Steve Johnson.

Andy Murray is the sole British representative left in round two of the singles draws after beating India's Yuki Bhambri in straight sets on Monday.

Ward, 27, had his chances on a blustery court seven when he led by a break in the third set and then had a set point in the tie-break.

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:
"To be feeling light-headed and low on energy will be a real worry to Watson, who worked so hard last year to make up for the time lost to glandular fever.
"But if she can remain healthy - and she was able to put herself through seven hard weeks of pre-season training - then she remains a player with the ability to make it into the second week of a Grand Slam.
"James Ward is playing the best tennis of his life: the more ATP events he can play in, the greater his chances will be of turning competitive defeats into victories over top-50 players.
"And Kyle Edmund did very well to win three rounds of qualifying on his debut, but isn't yet ready to land any serious blows on a top-40 player like Steve Johnson."

After two similarly one-sided opening sets it was the closing stages of the third that proved decisive as Verdasco, the 31st seed and a former semi-finalist in Melbourne, recovered the break and served his way out of danger in the tie-break.

A dispirited Ward thumped a forehand long to drop serve at the start of the fourth and although he fought hard to recover, the Londoner could not convert the one break-back point that came his way.

"It's come down to one or two points," said Ward. "It was tough but I thought I played well.

"Of course if I'd held two more times in the third I've won the set but it was tough conditions out there, very windy. We both played well. Even in the tie-break I gave myself a chance."

Ward will now head back to London where he will attend the funeral of his grandmother, who passed away recently.

"I don't want to make excuses but it's difficult. We're a very close family and it was a bit of a shock," he added.

Ward became the third British player to fall in a matter of hours after Watson had succumbed to Pironkova, and a recurring ailment that saps her energy.

The British number one required treatment from the doctor in the first set on court 10 and lost the last seven games.

Heather Watson
Heather Watson dropped to 162 in the world rankings after a bout of glandular fever in 2013

"It's really frustrating," said the 22-year-old, who still plans to play doubles in Melbourne.

"I woke up this morning in sweats. I don't always feel good every day but not this bad. It usually lasts literally one or two days."

Over on court 22, Edmund faced a man ranked 154 places higher at 38 in the world, and the gap in class and experience told.

Edmund, 20, had broken new ground by coming through three rounds to qualify for a Slam but made little impact on Johnson's impressive serve.

One break was enough for the 25-year-old American in each of the first two sets and two more followed as he clinically saw out the third.

"There wasn't a lot of rhythm due to the fact that he was serving really well," said Yorkshireman Edmund.

"It's just something I have to take away, work on and use as a stepping stone to get better.

"To qualify, win three matches and play my first round is a good experience. Looking back on it, it's still been a good week."

Kyle Edmund
Kyle Edmund was playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time

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