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Heather Watson beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska in Australian Open 6-3, 6-1

End of the road for brave Heather: Fourth seed Radwanska outclasses Watson in third

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

01:58 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

03:08 GMT, 18 January 2013

There was to be no repetition of the Wimbledon wipeout suffered against the same player in the same round, but Heather Watson could not save herself from bowing out of the Australian Open third round.

Despite a much-improved performance compared to SW19 in June – reflecting the improvements she has made in her game – Watson was beaten 6-3, 6-1 in 84 minutes by fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

It was a somewhat harsh scoreline and the British number one could have doubled her tally of games with a little more composure at the right time, but the Pole was always good value for her victory.

Over and out: Heather Watson was beaten in the third round by Agnieszka Radwanska

Over and out: Heather Watson was beaten in the third round by Agnieszka Radwanska

Consolation for Watson is that from her ranking of 50 she will go into the low forties, and has made a decent start towards her season’s goal of getting into the mid twenties. She and Laura Robson, the first two British players in the third round of a Grand Slam since 1991, have shown they belong in the top half century of players.

Barely ten hours after Robson had epically upset former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on the Rod Laver Arena, they were across Melbourne Park on the Hisense Arena, the venue’s secondary stadium.

It was mid morning rather than past midnight and the weather was also very different, the famously changeable Melbourne climate swapping desert heat for much more overcast, cooler and windier conditions.

Winning feeling: Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets against Watson

Winning feeling: Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets against Watson

Priority One for Watson was to avoid the slow starts she had in the first two rounds, and the first set blowout she had against the Pole in Wimbledon’s third round, when she went down 6-0 in 24 minutes before losing the second 6-2.

Watson has said that the Wimbledon result ‘killed me’, and she might not be much more pleased with the numerical outcome of this, although it was definitely a better performance and one in which her more cautious sense of adventure was not always rewarded with good fortune.

She came out much quicker this time and started the better of the two, forcing two break points, missing the second with a forehand against a player you simply cannot afford to give second chances to.

Starting well: Watson did well at the start of the first set

Starting well: Watson did well at the start of the first set

Making the shot: Watson gets the ball over the net

Radwanska is an antidote to the biff bash school of women’s tennis that predominates, and sometimes gets mentioned in the same breath as Martina Hingis. She cleverly constructs rallies and opens up the court intelligently, relying on guile more than brute force.

At Wimbledon Watson attacked, headless-chicken style, but this time she was more prudent and sought to get to the net when she could, but the beaten SW19 finalist was always a little too solid.

Heather Watson

Agnieszka Radwanska

Mixed emotions: Radwanska celebrates her win as Watson looks dejected

After the disappointment of the fourth game Radwanska broke for 3-2, and then more decisively for 5-2, when the 20 year-old Channel Islander served a double fault and failed to get a point. Breaks were then traded for the set to be taken in 36 minutes.

The second was more processional, at least until a drizzle break caused the roof to be closed at 3-0. Watson paid at times for her overheads not being more punishing, and her opponent scrambled every lost cause admirably. There was a consolation game at 5-0 and should have been another after that.

Time for treatment: Radwanska gets medical attention during a break in her win over Watson

Time for treatment: Radwanska gets medical attention during a break in her win over Watson

Watson could have served better, managing only 51 per cent of first deliveries in and knows she has to continue working on that aspect. But she has shown more strong resolve in this tournament to pluck two wins out of the fire, and can progress further from here.

All over: Radwanska is congratulated by Watson

All over: Radwanska is congratulated by Watson

Frank Lampard should leave Chelsea and move to America, says MLS chief

MLS chief urges Lampard to end playing days in America, not at Chelsea

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UPDATED:

15:44 GMT, 11 October 2012

Frank Lampard would be welcomed with open arms in Major League Soccer, according to the American league's boss.

Lampard is in the final year of his Chelsea contract and speculation is rife he will not be offered anything longer than a one-year extension.

The 34-year-old England midfielder has long been linked with a lucrative move to the United States, most notably as a replacement for David Beckham at Los Angeles Galaxy.

Frank analysis: Lampard has departed the England set-up due to injury

Frank analysis: Lampard has departed the England set-up due to injury

And MLS commissioner Don Garber insisted this afternoon there would be no shortage of suitors were Lampard to make it known he wanted to end his career in America.

Garber said: 'Frank Lampard's a great player. He has a great history with the sport.

'If he decides he wants to play in Major League Soccer, I'm sure any club would be happy to have him on their roster.'

Garber was speaking at the Leaders in Football Conference at Stamford Bridge and asked if he would exploit that opportunity, he joked: 'I'll go into the locker room and see if I can chat him up…'

Garber claimed he was not aware of any of his clubs making an approach for Lampard, confirming he would be involved in any negotiations if one of them did because the player would would need an exemption from the MLS salary cap.

'Frank would probably fall in the 'Designated Player' category,” Garber added.

'That's a discussion that starts with ownership at the local level, and the league certainly would be involved at some point.

'But a local team owner would have to decide that they would want him on their team.'

Yanks for coming: David Beckham has spent five years playing for LA Galaxy

Yanks for coming: David Beckham has spent five years playing for LA Galaxy

Garber was also hopeful Beckham could be persuaded to play on close to his forties.

The former England captain, 37, signed a new two-year contract at the start of 2012 and revealed he planned to exercise an option to become an owner of an MLS team.

Garber said: 'David has been a great, great ambassador for our league and people like him, people love watching him, ESPN Sports Center loves showing his highlights.

'I hope he becomes the iron man and can play for many more years.

'He does have an opportunity to be an owner of a team in time. We'll continue to talk to him, when he's ready to retire, about that opportunity.

'That discussion really isn't relevant until he retires.'

He added: 'We would love to have a continued relationship with David in any capacity that he and his family would like.

'He has the opportunity to be part of an ownership group. My guess is he's probably going to pursue that.'