Heather Watson became the third and the final Briton to lose out of the French Open after battling for nearly two hours to eventually lose to Stefanie Voegele in her first match since recovering from glandular fever.
Watson lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to Switzerland’s world number 56, in a match rescheduled for Wednesday due to Tuesday’s rain- disrupted play.
It will be the first time since 2007 that Britain will not have a player in the second- round of both men and women singles draw at the Roland Garros, as the other representatives: Laura Robson, Elena Baltacha had earlier been eliminated.
The 21- year- old British number two was diagnosed with glandular fever in April and she has not played any match prior to the French Open.
After spending six weeks recuperating at her Guernsey home, Watson finally stepped in a match court on Day 4 of the Roland Garros.
A break in game five proved decisive in the first set and the 23- year- old Swiss began to assume firm control of the match, while Watson’s first serve had deserted her.
The moment Voegele earned two break points at the start of the second set, Watson looked the perfect candidate for a quick exit, but her fighting spirit helped her stage a comeback.
Two rasping forehands and an ace helped tranquilize the initial threat and taking some pace off her first serve to improve the consistency, Watson was able to unload on some returns. She powered through four straight games from 2-2 and took the set when the clearly rattled Voegele double- faulted.
The winning mentality was now very much with the Briton but a toilet break from the Swiss before the deciding set interrupted proceedings, and on the resumption, Watson was broken when a forehand was called, wide to her disbelief.
It happens that the break gave Voegele victory, but it was nevertheless Watson who dominated the latter stages.
The Swiss closed out the match with an impressive service game, but Watson’s level of performance was far higher than could have been expected following her illness.