So there we go. Join me next door for Tiafoe-Del Potro, where we can whisper sweet nothings to one another about the Argentine genius.
Yulia Putintseva - Heather Watson
Australian Open women - 16 January 2018
Australian Open – Follow the Tennis match between Yulia Putintseva and Heather Watson live with Eurosport. The match starts at 08:00 on 16 January 2018. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Putintseva 7-5 7-6(6) Watson
Putintseva is two points away now, but needing a first serve, fires into the net. And again, Watson plays a fine point when she really needs to, staying in the point before injecting the extra pace that brings her a set point. But at the end of a long rally, she puts a backhand into the tramlines ... by a fraction, and after constructing the point really nicely. 6--6 it is, and yet another unforced error, this time on the forehand, gives Putintseva match point ... and there is it! Watson smears a forehand into the tramlines, and though she competed well, she can have no arguments about losing that match. Neither player played remotely well, but Putintseva doesn't care, squealing with delight. She plays Ana Bogdan next, who eliminated Kristina Mladenovic, seeded 11, earlier.
Putintseva 7-5 6-6 (5-5) Watson
A perfect backhand, hit inside-out from shoulder height, gives Watson the mini-break-back, and then a drop-shot followed by aggressive forehand towards the phizog gives her the advantage. She consolidates by winning the next point, and is now two away form forcing a deciding set ... but nets a backhand and then goes wide with another.
Putintseva 7-5 6-6 (3-2) Watson
Putintseva gets the mini-break immediately when Watson nets a backhand, and then Watson does well to stay in the rally before going wide when a loopy drop-shot gives her an opportunity. But she wins the next two points to get us back on serve; neither of these two can find the consistency to beat the other, which is why this set is taking so long, and Watson nets a forehand to fall behind again; she's running out of chances...
Putintseva 7-5 6-6 Watson
Watson's level has dropped at the crucial point of both sets. But at 15-0, she plays a fine, deep approach and puts the consequent volley away with ease. And then a shorter ball catches Putintseva, who is well behind the baseline and has to stretch, looping a forehand out. But Watson then nets a backhand for no reason ... but then Putintseva makes an error, giving Watson break point and her racket a going over. We end up at deuce, whereupon Putintseva slices a forehand wide - she is getting jittery - but saves another break point at the net. My, Watson is so frustrating to watch; she gets herself another break point, then wastes it with a carelessly long forehand. We could be here a while. Anyway, another break point comes and goes, though this time Putintseva at least has to win it, before a booming forehand from Watson gives her break point once more ... and this time she converts, when Putintseva goes long on the backhand! Watson played that game very well, attacking wherever possible, and got her just desserts.
Putintseva 7-5 6-5 Watson
Oh dear. 0-15 down, Watson serves a double fault; it's not easy to keep holding from this position. Trust me, I should know. And then Watson goes long with a backhand, and suddenly Putintseva has three break points without even having to earn them.And she only needs one! Watson plays the point reasonably, but as she comes in, a looping forehand flies over shoulder and drops in! That's a great shot, and in 90 seconds' time, Putintseva will serve for the match!
Putintseva 7-5 5-5 Watson
My pictures dropped out, but serving to stay in the set, Putintseva served to stay in the set.
Putintseva 7-5 4-5 Watson
Watson looks like she's still sulking, and is soon 0-30 down. But after a tame second serve, a succession of giant forehands get her back in the game, a backhand winner drawing her level. We - ok, they - arrive at deuce, and Watson quickly cleans up. Huge hold.
Putintseva 7-5 4-4 Watson
She can! She races to 0-30, and then gets herself into a good position in the next rally, only to swipe a short ball wide on the backhand ... and then again. It must be frustrating for her coach, reckons our commentator, because he knows she can play so much better than this. But she gets herself a break point nonetheless, Putintseva netting a backhand before berating the officials for calling in Watson's previous shot, which dropped on the line. Break point yields the longest rally of the match, both players throwing themselves into it, before Watson cracks a forehand just outside the sideline. And she has chances from deuce to, missing twice on her forehand - once wide, once into the net - and slams her racket about to emphasise the point; that'll teach it. Three in a row for Putintseva.
Putintseva 7-5 3-4 Watson
Putintseva gets to 0-30, but then Watson plays a really good point to finish with a deep volley. She can't capitalise though, netting a backhand, and while I'm embarrassingly distracted by Will Ferrell interviewing Roger Federer, she synchs the break-back! Can Watson shake it off?
Putintseva 7-5 1-4 Watson
Putintseva gets on the board in this set, but not without pressure from Watson. Still, though, she attacks Watson's serve in the next game - Watson does well to hang on.
Putintseva 7-5 0-3 Watson
Watson is on one now, playing with so much more authority and showing herself to be the better player. If she keeps this up, there'll be nothing Putintseva can do about it.
Putintseva 7-5 0-2 Watson
Now it's Watson at 0-30, attacking Putintseva's second serve ... and again! She wins the next point too, breaking to love.
Putintseva 7-5 0-1 Watson
It's a struggle, but Watson gets out of her first service game of the set fro 0-30 behind. She just can't sustain a suitable level at the moment - a good point here, three crap ones there.
Putintseva 7-5 Watson
Watson curses herself after yet another error to give 15-0; our commentators apologised to anyone offended, but it's too late, I've already turned everything off. Putintseva gets to 40-15, but Watson then finds something, chasing down a drop-shot really well before cracking an overhead to save the second of the set-points. But then a backhand down the line hits the net, giving the Khzakh a third go at things ... and Watson plays the point really well, but at the net, seeing away passing attempts, eventually one catches the net and defeats her. Putintseva squeals in delight as she returns to her chair.
Putintseva 6-5 Watson
Watson plays another terrible game, this time on her serve, eventually going long with a backhand to be broken to 15. Putintseva will now serve for the first set.
Putintseva 5-5 Watson
With Putintseva serving to stay in the set, Watson leaps on her, quickly up 0-15. But she can't do anything beyond that, ceding cheap points with unforced errors.
Putintseva 4-4 Watson
Watson looks to be warming up, getting to 0-30 on the Putintseva serve. Putintseva, by the way, is something of a firebrand, and she doesn't like it when, after closing to 30-all, Watson spanks a forehand return past her, taken early and from outside the tramlines. And her forehand controls the next rally too, sending her girl to hither and yon before a ball drops short enough for her to come in and punish a winner.
Putintseva 4-2 Watson
Watson holds nicely, her best game of the match; can she break back? She cannot. That was a good hold from Putintseva, who is looking the better, less tentative player at the moment.
Putintseva 3-1 Watson
Putintseva 2-1 Watson
This is going to be a slog - in the best kind of way. Two more deuce games, and a miserable second serve from Watson allows Putintseva into the rally; she wins it, and Watson is down a break point. Seconds later, she's down a break, following a backhand driven low into the net.
Putintseva 0-1 Watson
Watson struggles though her first service game, constantly being pegged back when she thinks she has it won. But eventually she makes her way to the net, volleys deep, and Putintseva's lob drops long giving her another game point; she can't take it. But then she earns another - she earns several others - and takes one at the net. This has the makings of a good game - the players seem well-matched.
Right then, Watson and Pitintseva are go! Watson has the balls...