Watson frustrated by missed chance
A tearful Heather Watson admitted she had let an opportunity slip away as she went out of the US Open in the first round to 21st seed Simona Halep.
It looked like the 21-year-old was going to join Dan Evans and Laura Robson in the second round in New York when she won the first set on Court 11.
But a costly slip-up in the ninth game of the second set turned the match and Watson fell away in the third to lose 4-6 6-4 6-2.
Although Halep is not one of the big names of women's tennis, she has been arguably the form player of the tour over the last three months.
The Romanian has won four of her last seven tournaments - only Serena Williams has won more during the season - with her latest victory coming in New Haven on Saturday.
Watson is still looking to rediscover her best form after suffering from glandular fever earlier in the year and has slipped to 76th in the rankings from a high of 39 in February.
The Guernsey player said: "I thought I played better than I have been. I was playing one of the hottest players on tour right now. She's playing very well. She made a lot of balls.
"I thought I played a good two sets and in the third set my fitness let me down a bit. I was cramping in my legs. I think partly because in the first two sets I was a bit tight.
"All in all I'm pleased with how I played but I had my chances definitely and I had an opportunity to win that match in two sets. But she's got the confidence and she won the points when it mattered.
"I think that's why it hurts a lot is because I was so close. But if I keep making opportunities for myself I'll take some."
Watson has been working on playing a more aggressive game with her new coach Jeremy Bates and she certainly was not holding back, blasting returns as she raced into a 2-0 lead.
Halep hit straight back, and the Romanian responded again when Watson broke to lead 5-3 only for the British number two to break serve for the third time and take the set.
Halep smashed her racket in frustration as Watson held on to lead 2-1 in the second, and when she retrieved a break immediately to level at 3-3 she looked to be in the ascendancy.
Watson should have held for 5-4 but from 40-0 up she lost five points in a row, double-faulting on the last one.
Halep clinched the second set and swiftly moved 3-0 ahead in the third and, although Watson battled, there was no way back.
The 21-year-old is not sure whether her fitness problems are still a legacy of the glandular fever, which forced her off the tour for two months between March and May.
She said: "I've been doing a lot. I've been running about four times a week, I've been in the gym every day doing weights. I don't quite know what it is.
"It could be a few things - just getting back to match fitness because when you're practising you play free and loose but in a match situation there's a lot more pressure."