Former British No. 1 Heather Watson was given a walkover through to the semi-finals of the Aegon International in Eastbourne when Petra Kvitova withdrew due to injury. Her arrival at the semi-final comes after her fantastic win to reach the quarter-final, where she defeated resurgent Italian Flavia Pennetta in surprisingly strong fashion.
“That is my highest win so far. But I wasn’t really looking at it like that,” Watson said. “I was looking at, you know, my goals and what I want to achieve. It didn’t matter who I was playing today. I just wanted to get to that next round. I knew it was going to be tough. I have seen Flavia play a lot, actually. Just on TV – she always seems to be on whenever I’ve been watching! I knew my game plan and had a good one with my coach and just kept fighting even after a tough first set. Just stuck in there and kept positive.”
Kvitova, who reached the quarter-final round with wins over Lucie Safarova and Lepchenko, withdrew from the tournament with a hamstring strain. Although it did not appear to be a serious injury, the top-ranked Czech did not want to risk more damage ahead of the Wimbledon Championships. She had initally injured it during her opening match against Safarova, which went three sets, but played a strong second match with her right thigh heavily bandaged.
Kvitova says she is uncertain of the full extent of the injury but says “I hope that just some days off will help.”
The withdrawal is good news for the Brit, as it means Watson is guaranteed 185 ranking points, which should see her climb significantly from her current ranking of No. 70. She will face either Lauren Davis or Madison Keys for a spot in the tournament final.