• China Open

Watson suffers early exit in China

ESPN staff
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Heather Watson has struggled since winning her maiden WTA title © Getty Images
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Heather Watson suffered an early exit from the China Open after losing 1-6 6-3 6-3 to Varvara Lepchenko.

The British No. 2 made a lightning start to the tournament by storming her way to the opening set against the former world No. 19.

However, Lepchenko recovered and fought back in the second set to force a decider as Watson began to wobble. Despite being under pressure from a resurgent Lepchenko, Watson found some composure by holding serve from 0-40 down right at the beginning of the final set.

The pair could not be separated after six games, but from 3-3 in the decider it was Lepchenko who seized the initiative, taking three games on the spin to take the win.

Watson has struggled since clinching her one and only WTA title almost a year ago at the HP Open, reaching one quarter-final and the third round at the Australian Open in-between battling injuries and illness.

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