A great display of fighting spirit saw Heather Watson beat Italian Flavia Pennetta 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2 in their centre court match.
A long first set saw three consecutive breaks to take it into a tie break, with the world no. 12 edging a tense battle. The British no. 1 showed tenacity to come back from a set down yesterday to win, and today was no different as she took the second set 6-4 to even the match up.
With the roar of the crowd echoing out across Devonshire Park, Watson turned it up a notch, flying through the last set, her service game dominating, to take the final set 6-2 and claim her first top twenty player scalp.
This is the first time Watson has made it beyond the first round of the Aegon International, losing to Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli last year, and will take on second seed Petra Kvitova in the quarter finals later this week.
Neil and Ken Skupski came through a close match 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-5 against the third seed pairing of Lindstedt and Mirnyi, saving six break points along the way to victory.
Defending champion edges past qualifier Feliciano Lopez got over the disappointment of his loss in last week’s Aegon Championships final by making certain of his place in the quarter finals following a 7-6(10), 7-5 win over German qualifier Tobias Kamke.
On the men’s side of the draw, birthday boy Richard Gasquet beat Australian Bernard Tomic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
The match was less routine than the result looked, and could have easily swung the other way, Tomic only able to take one of ten break points.
Caroline Wozniacki made the second round following an efficient 6-3, 6-3 win over American Sloane Stephens.
The eighth seed Dane’s consistent service game, not double faulting once, allowed her to control the match and earn her a second round tie against Italian Camila Giorgi.
Johanna Konta was unable to capitalise on her strong start to the tournament yesterday, losing 6-1, 5-7, 5-7 to Camila Giorgi.
Giorgi, who had beaten the fourth seed Azarenka in the first round, fought back after losing the first set and saved a match point in the process of taking the second.
The third set saw Giorgi’s stronger second serve gave her the edge and she closed out the match to send the Brit out.