French Open 2014: Britain's Heather Watson out after losing to Simona Halep in Paris
Last Updated: 29/05/14 8:27pm
British hope Heather Watson was eliminated from the French Open after being beaten 6-2 6-4 by Simona Halep in the second round.
Watson made it through the qualifying tournament and defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the first round, but a clash with the new world No 4 proved to be a step too far.
Halep was made to work in the second set but ultimately had a little too much quality for Watson, who was the only British player in this year’s women’s singles draw.
Romanian Halep has rocketed up the rankings over the past year, winning more titles than any other woman except Serena Williams.
She is the highest seed left in the bottom half of the draw following Li Na's first-round loss and is now the second favourite for the title behind Maria Sharapova despite the fact she has only reached one grand slam quarter-final.
In the first set, Watson did manage to retrieve an early break of serve by Halep to make it 2-2 but from thereon found it extremely difficult to pierce her opponent's defences.
I don't think I was on my best game. I made a lot more unforced errors than I usually do, and I thought my first-serve percentage wasn't very high.
The Romanian reeled off four straight games to clinch the opening set before moving into an early lead in the second set as well.
Watson eventually found her rhythm and had two chances to break when Halep was serving for the match at 5-4. She could not take either, though, and Halep clinched victory on her second match point with a forehand winner.
Watson smacked the ground with her racquet in frustration but her run at Roland Garros will lift her ranking significantly from its current 92.
She is also guaranteed to overtake the injured Laura Robson as the top-ranked Brit, the first time she will have held that position since last year's struggle with glandular fever.
Watson said: "Simona played very well, as I knew she would.
"I don't think I was on my best game. I made a lot more unforced errors than I usually do, and I thought my first-serve percentage wasn't very high. I wasn't helping myself getting any free points with that.
"But she made hardly any unforced errors. She made me make those unforced errors. I've got to give her credit for that. I felt she was a bit nervous in that last game. So was I, and I didn't take advantage.
"I'm disappointed that I didn't do better. I really expected more from myself. It happens, and I'll just take these weeks as a positive for the grass."