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Yesterday, Devonshire Park was a sea of activity, so many people, so many
players, so many matches to catch up on after all the weather delays but
today, it is all about one court, Centre Court, two semifinals, for
players and, for the first time in history, two of them are British.
And a cheer from the crowd because the home favourite takes the first
set. That didn't look good. Johanna Konta, worrying times for the
British number one. She is back in the Eastbourne semifinals. That is a
very popular outcome to the end of this opening set. What a tournament,
what a win for Heather Watson. She has taken her place in the
semifinals here at Eastbourne. Good morning. You weren't expecting
us to be on air this early and, frankly, neither were we. Until
about ten seconds ago, this was going to be one of the great days
for British tennis here, with two players in the semifinals for more
than 40 years in this tournament, but literally in the last 20
seconds, as a result of the ball Johanna Konta had last night, a
really crashing fall that Gtech, she has just announced that she has
pulled out of her semifinal against Bush and above. She will get a bye
into the final but the question is, who will she play? Will it be
Heather Watson Caroline Wozniacki? They will be playing as scheduled at
11am this morning, and they are walking on court at the moment.
There is Heather. She has been in this situation before but given had
fairly wretched run in recent months, this is a fairly magnificent
resurgence for the player from Guernsey and the smile that lit up
tennis when she first came onto the scene a few years ago have come back
to her face with a vengeance in the last few days. Talk about shiny,
happy people on a lovely sunny day, Caroline Wozniacki lighting up the
scene here as well. At the risk of repeating ourselves here, which I am
sure we will do over the course of the next hour or so, Johanna Konta
has pulled out of the semifinals, so the winner of this match will play
Pliskova in the final. When you look at that, you realise what an immense
day it was for the two British players yesterday. They both had to
play two matches and to beat the French champion and spend the number
one seed here and the number one seed at Wimbledon next week,
Angelique Kerber, and have the ball in the middle of it, it was an
extraordinary day for her. If we have a quick chat with Sam Smith
about Konta and dancing at the last minute that she's going to pull out.
All you have to do really is look at that indentation in the court and
you realise what an absolute wallop it was that she took. Yes, my
instant reaction when she fell over, good morning, John, by the way. In
fact, not such a good morning. So depressed that she has pulled out.
There was a huge grain from Centre Court. She went down with such a
bang and she didn't have the chance to put her hand down at all. That
was the problem. It is a little bit about the way she moves. You can see
the little horseshoe to the left of the centreline and she took the all
court with her and she went smash onto her back. There was no give
there. She got her hand out but not in time. She went on her ankle. All
the weight of that fall was on her back and then she hit her head and
actually think it was just adrenaline going through her body. I
can't believe she got up to play those last two points. I mean, it
was of a nominal victory at the end of that, given that circumstance as
well. I am just hearing that she will hold a press conference in the
next few minutes. But I suppose the key thing to say is that Eastbourne
is big, but Wimbledon is bigger and she is in the top ten in the world.
She has a genuine chance of being the first British champion at
Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1977 and she wants to be in tiptop
condition at Wimbledon next week. By the way, the draw has come out today
and she plays the Taiwanese player who beat her in the first round at
Roland Garros a few weeks ago. Anyway, it wasn't to no avail, that
victory over curb, because it is a real mark in the sand for Joe Konta
with regards to what could happen over the next few weeks. If we put
the injury to one side, Sam, the fact she won two matches yesterday
gave two such outstanding players, she is in a good place at the
moment? That was the finest day in terms of tennis results of her
entire career. It was very special and it shows you that in sport
anything can happen. We are hearing that actually there is a further six
by an injury. I'm sure she woke up very bruised this morning and it is
not worth taking a chance. I am sure she'll have an MRI scan and she
won't take any chances. We don't know the extent of the injury and
how shall we for Wimbledon. I was surprised that she got up from that
injury and I'm not surprised that there will be at least the minimum
of breathing after going down in such a heavy fashion. Seeing Heather
Watson in our picture there, the Wimbledon draw that came out in the
last hour or so, she plays a Belgian who is ranked 117 in the world in
her first-round match and assuming that Andy Murray is going to be at
Wimbledon, I was listening to his mum Judy on Chris Evans's breakfast
show this morning and she wasn't giving too much away, but it does
seem that he will be there. He has drawn a qualifier in the first round
on Monday, that to be determined. Roger Federer plays Dolgopolov in
the first round and I'm sure that will be a fantastic match which will
entrance the crowd on the first day. So, here we have Heather Watson and
Sam, she is like a player reborn here, isn't she? Yes, I think it is
a product of her realising she had to make some changes. Our ranking
had fallen out of the top 100 and the coaching situation wasn't clear.
I felt like she was drifting and Heather is way too good a player to
let that happen. I think she had to bump along the bottom a little while
to wake up and say, right, I have to take control of my career now. She
switched her coaching team, has been training in London where she has a
flat. I feel her workrate has really gone up and this week, and the one
she had at Surbiton in a smaller tournament a few weeks ago, is the
product of her really looking in the mirror and saying, OK, I've got to
work as hard as I can. I'm 25 now and I should not be ranked around
120 in the world. She should be in the top 20 with the ability she has.
If you are wondering about the crowd here at Eastbourne thinking, hang on
a moment, they have lost a match, obviously the Men's Singles have
reached the semifinal stages as well and they were going to run a bit
today with four matches back-to-back, but they have still
got a cracking day with three matches including Novak Djokovic ch
against Daniil Medvedev, one of the new stars of the game. And then Gael
Monfils against Richard Gasquet. They paid hundreds of pounds for
that in France, and an hearing Eastbourne they get it for a few
quid. It's very good. Contractually, we are not allowed to show you those
matches but nonetheless, that is what the crowd have in store for
them here today. Just to let you know, our coverage, we are here
until 12 o'clock when the daily politics will take over. We will
then move from BBC Two to the red button and then we will return to
BBC Two from 1pm. So, Heather going through her last bits of
preparation. If you have literally just switched on having realised we
would be on at 11am, you won't know that Johanna Konta has sadly pulled
out of her semifinal against Pliskova, so Pliskova gets a bye
into the semifinal against one of these two. If you are marking your
cardboard tomorrow, 12:30pm this final -- if you are marking your
card for tomorrow, 12:30pm the final for the women at Eastbourne. Over to
the commentary team. Sam. So, British hopes resting on the
shoulders of Heather Watson. A third meeting between Herring Caroline
Wozniacki. Nice conditions, a little bit of a breeze. Sun poking three. I
am trying to be all positive about the weather. Sam Smith, I am trying
to be anyway. I have had a good influence there. Not in all areas, I
fear. We won't go into that but we will be positive about the weather
and about this match, which we are really looking forward to. Heather
Watson came in as a wild card, 136 in the world. But the challenge
today, she has come through against the defending champion, against the
14th seed, the 23rd seed who had lost only one game. It's been an
incredible run for Heather Watson at the challengers keep on coming and
now she faces world number six, Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniaki looking
for her fourth final of 2017. She won this tournament back in 2009.
She's had a fair bit of grass court practice coming into this, Heather
Watson. Runner-up on a grass court tournament in Surbiton and then
early exits as a wild card in both Nottingham and Birmingham.
Wozniaki, by contrast, this is her first tournament since reaching the
quarterfinals in Welwyn Garros. -- in Roland Garros.
First ace of the day. Picks up a couple of gain points for Heather
Watson. That'll do an excellent job of
settling any nerves for Heather Watson. Hold serve to 15. How do the
serves of Wozniaki and Watson shape up against each other? Heather likes
a hard, flat ball coming at her so this is a tricky one for her. She
has to use the pace of what is coming off of the court because she
struggles to generate enough of her own. Have a look at those clouds!
Just generating harrowing pace is something she finds quite difficult
and it's hard against Wozniaki because Wozniaki in a way is a very
similar player. She has a greater weight of shot man Heather but
Heather, to get through this match or to be competitive, is going to
have to let the racket go at the ball and be pretty aggressive out
there. I should say, between us, I think we
have looked at 12 different web apps and none of them had rain in them,
so I am quite confident those dark clouds we just saw going to go
around us, if that is possible. In Hong Kong, later in the year,
Wozniaki got a straight sets victory over Heather Watson.
Quite a conservative start to this match will Caroline Wozniacki, in
fact for both of them. It feels like Heather has her measuring stick out
when she hits the ball, very precise, doesn't like to rip out the
shot. An excellent point by Watson. She
took control and she brings up a first break point of the semifinal.
The winner to face Karolina Pliskova in tomorrow's final.
What you have from Caroline is she will look to work the point with
that backhand. The forehand I feel has been much improved. Sasha came
into the team at the beginning of the year. He is so much more than a
hitting partner. When he was with Serena Williams, eight years with
Serena Williams, she won ten Grand Slams. He had a lot of input into
those successes. And he said in Paris that working as the hitting
partner and a little bit on tactics, he has really focused on the
nutrition side of things. So she is very disciplined, she eats very
well. Heaven knows, and she's not under
too much pressure in this match in terms of expectation, she has got to
let the racket head go on that forehand and not stop it. I saw
Marion Bartoli on the way in hair, wearing quite precarious heels,
hopefully she made down the slope, and we both said that she mustn't
lock-up that forehand. She has got to let the racket go. She is finding
her spots grow, Watson. Athletically here against Wozniaki, she is the
Dane's match and she possibly moves even slightly better than Wozniaki
and that is a big plus in the Watson column. That doesn't happen very
often to Wozniaki. Wozniaki just made a very difficult
shot-mac incredibly easy. It's a good job the wind wasn't up because
that would have ended up outside the tramlines. Wonderful control on the
stretch and on the run. Get the Dane out of a spot of bother. Says a
couple of break points. We were discussing yesterday whether
Caroline Wozniacki might make a bad -- a mad dash to the WTA party but I
think due to be late finish against Halep, plans were cancelled and the
dress went back in the suitcase. As Heather Watson said, she is saving
her dress for next year. It is a good idea. It's a terrible
miss though. I think she felt that Wozniaki haven't quite got it up and
whilst Caroline is like a hare across the court, she loves to run,
she adores the physical part of the game.
A couple of bad shots up at the net. Strategically, excellent in this
match. Execution, not quite there. She slams that in frustration. A
break point opportunity for Wozniaki.
A little look up from Heather Watson but they were sent a challenge and
that was a break to love for Caroline Wozniacki, 2009 champion
here. Caroline Wozniacki completed the New York Marathon in three and a
half hours a couple of years ago and she says it's her biggest
achievement. She raised a lot of money for a children's charity. Have
you ever run a marathon? How much cartilage do you think I've got left
on my knees?! I'm just asking. I did one and I think it was in double the
time. And you know she went out the night before as well? And had
popcorn for dinner and didn't train for it. She has said she is not
going to do another one. It was a little harder than she realised. But
Caroline is an extraordinary athlete. If she wasn't playing
tennis she'd be a footballer or doing triathlon, I'm sure. I've
often felt that from that year where she started doing a lot more runny,
she actually picked up a lot of injuries the following season,
knees, ankles. This is Caroline Wozniacki we're talking about right
now. It hurt her and she has now said she is spending a lot less time
running and in the gym in the off-season and more time on court
because she realises, I don't see Caroline playing into her mid-30s.
Not the way she plays. This attritional style, how much court
she covers, how physical it is. She probably has a couple of years left,
I would imagine, if the results are good, because her body can't take
it. 26 years of age, Caroline Wozniacki. Slipped as low as number
74 in the world last year. Currently sitting at six. Former world number
one. 25 singles titles. The most amount of titles without winning a
Grand Slam title. And such a tough competitor. So, Wozniaki with the
break. It's quite a good warm up for
Caroline to play Simona Halep yesterday. Quite a similar game
style. She's not finding that -- this that easy. She is having to
generate out here and finds that easier on the backhand than the
forehand. Good use of the court by the Dane, as good an athlete as
Watson. A little bit too much Court Two cover.
Their second serve just sort of drifted. It was a dolly drop, it
really was. I'd like to see her much further inside the baseline to
return the second delivery. Much more aggressive.
Oh, don't push it. She knows straightaway. Didn't get her feet up
to the ball and didn't accelerate their racket head. It's almost like
she is overrun her default setting. If you listen to Heather, when she
speaks, every word is measured and precise. She needs to let go a
little on the tennis court. It makes such a difference. Importantly for
Wozniaki, that's consolidation of her break to edge ahead in this
first set. You are not only up against a wonderful athlete but one
of the toughest mentally out there as well. She is a great match player
if you look at her stats across the years. Generally, when she is fit
and healthy, she defends many more of the break points against and
converts many more. That is a match player right there.
Yes, she's upset because she is not committing out here. But you can
see, there's not the pace for her to move her racket head onto the ball.
She is having to accelerate that racket and she's finding it very
difficult to do so. He has been working with her for the last four
or five weeks and it's going very well so far.
Wozniacki now though with a chance for back-to-back love breaks on the
Watson serve. There it is. Little fist pump from
the Dane. She has a double break. Her second break to love and takes
control of this first set of the semifinal.
As we see Caroline Wozniacki taking a drink at the break, we saw a
couple of shots of Colin Beacher working with Heather Watson. There's
been a change for her this year in terms of coaching. There's been a
lot of changes for a good part of her career for Heather, working with
an Argentinian coach, where she was based in Florida. He really
developed Heather and that's when she was up at her best ranking.
Towards the end of 2015, he decided to go back to Argentinament he has a
young -- Argentina. I think the relationship might have been getting
a little stale. Since then she hasn't really settled with anyone.
She's looked at various options, used coaches from the academy. Then
it was, I mean, it wasn't long ago, just after the French Open that she
was looking at some options and decided to go with, I always get
this wrong, the JTI set up at Chiswick. Colin is one of the
coaches there. David Felger oversees the programme. Good set up there.
They have juniors, some older players. I think her just taking
charge. I was saying to John at the start, she was bumping along the
bottom and she had to do something decisive. It looks to be a very good
move. Before everyone tunes in on Sunday
and says where's the Eastbourne final - you can watch it on
Saturday. Caroline Wozniacki's really finding
her rhythm out there now. Well, I spent a lot of Sunday watching her
practice with her dad. You can tell when she's playing well because the
ball comes off the forehand really well.
It's a good barometer of how she's playing.
First double fault of the semifinal for Caroline Wozniacki.
Much better distribution from Watson. You have to be accurate. You
have to trade for a while. If there's a chance to attack, you must
take it. Heather is still a little too far back behind the baseline.
Opportunity now though here for Heather Watson. A double break down,
but a chance to get one back. If she had set the tone for with the
break opportunities in theerly yes set. She's only won one point on
serve so far in this semifinal. UMPIRE: Miss Watson is challenging
the call. A weaker part of Heather's game. A lovely first delivery. She's
getting more on it. The second serve doesn't really have a lot of shape,
a lot of spin. Wozniacki is one of the best
returners out there. A couple more opportunities for
Wozniacki to put herself in a position to serve out this first
set. There's a double break back.
Caroline Wozniacki, shortly, with 27 minutes on the clock, will be
serving to take the firgs set of this semifinal.
If Heather gets the opportunity, should she try and get forward more
and play the net game? We know how good she is at the net. She's the
reigning mixed doubles champion. Is that something she should try and do
more of? In this match up? Yeah, I think the problem is she's not
playing well enough off the ground to create spaces to come in.
Caroline absolutely loves a target. Have you to come in off something
great. Caroline Wozniacki needs to be right at the end of her range
hitting that ball. Then you have to close off the net. I felt in the
early few games Heather was trying to do that. She was a little more on
her ground strokes. Heather, I'm sure, is sitting at the change of
ends and she knows she's not being as aggressive as she needs to be.
Trying to do it and change and make this transition from being a very
good athlete, a good counterpuncher to a more offensive player, that is
a journey -- -- offencive player, that is a journey. They'll be
banging on to Heather that she has to make this change. Otherwise
she'll be around 70, 80 in the world. She is so much better, with
what she has. It's a mental change as well. Last year, Caroline
Wozniacki came in here as the world number 36. She plays here today as
the world number six. She has new balls with which to try and serve
out set wup -- one. UMPIRE: Ms Wozniacki is challenging
the ball on the right service line, the ball was called out.
A lot of that ball was on the line. Wozniacki had the feeling it was
good, challenged immediately. Takes her two points from the set.
Lovely. That brings up the first of two set points.
You cannot give her this much time. That's pretty much the story of this
set. There it is. Caroline Wozniacki
moves to within a set of being back in the Eastbourne final, 32 minutes
on the clock. Wozniacki takes over Heather Watson by 6-2.
STUDIO: That's a disappointing start for Heather Watson, a first set
littered with too mannier errors. -- many errors there. It's been a
disappointing day for British tennis full stop from the word go. As a
consequence of that fall last night, Johanna Konta, I mean, she really
went a wallop there. Somehow she came back to beat the world number
one, and number one seed at Wimbledon next week, but because of
a thoracic spine injury, you can see she hits her back, there in a really
big way. Because of that spinal injury she's decided that discretion
is the better part of valour and pulled out of the competition that.
Means that Karolina Pliskova -- competition. That means Karolina
Pliskova gets through to the final. She will play the winner this match.
In the first round of Wimbledon next week, Johanna Konta has drawn:
Andy Murray has drawn a qualifier in the first round on Monday, when he
walks onto Centre Court. That's assuming that his hip injury allows
him to walk onto Centre Court on Monday. He plays a qualifier, so dud
Kyle Edmund. We're here on BBC Two through to
midday. Then we'll be on the red button. Then we come back here to
BBC Two from 1pm this afternoon. Talking about Johanna Konta, here
she is, not looking too bad. That's in the press room here at
Eastbourne. I think the next year it's going to be demolished with the
big expansion plans taking place here. Jo's obviously not too bad but
didn't feel well enough to take part in the semifinal match today. So
that's one British player would won't be playing tomorrow. Heather
needs time prove slightly or she won't -- needs to improve slightly
or she won't be either. COMMENTATOR: It's all to do for
Heather Watson in the second set. Both players brought their coaches
on court at the end of the first set.
For Heather this is not about hitting the cover off the ball. It's
just playing with what she's got in hay very different way, getting up
-- in a very different way, getting up the court. I think she could make
a few more first serves. I was looking at the wrong side of
the computer screen, that was Wozniacki's numbers. I would like
her to take a little more off that first set. Put a little more on it
and get shorter balls. That makes things a little bit
easier, a quick point, ace. She needs a good start here.
That first set was very passive. When I talk about Heather stopping
the racket head on the forehand that's a perfect scam put of it. --
example of it. It's mental and technical.
Important hold for Heather Watson first game of the second set,
trailing by a set to Caroline Wozniacki. Heather Watson started
the year as the world number 81. Slipped down to world number 126.
Needed a wildcard for Eastbourne. Needed a wildcard for Wimbledon.
Live rankings tell us she's up to 102. This is a premiere level WTA
tournament, from the third wrung of the tournaments with the WTA. Points
up for grabs. 470 for the winner. A good jump for Heather Watson who
would go further if she comes through this. Could go as high as 69
in the world. For that, she would have to win this and beat Pliskova
tomorrow. Does show the difference at this
tournament level what a few wins can do to your ranking.
You look at the reaction, heather does not like to miss. It isn't in
her mentality. Good errors, went for it, the ball was on. OK she missed.
But go for it. Love hold for the Dane. Looking as
comfortable as she has been so far in this march. It's good to see how
Sasha has come in. I can't speak highly enough of him. Caroline has
tried a number of coach consultants to work with her and her father.
It's lasted days, sometimes. Sasha brings great energy,
expertise. He spent a long time with Serena
Williams. Caroline said she asked Serena's blessing before asking him
to work with her. That was a mighty good forehand.
He's shortened the swing a little, which is good. With Sasha, if you're
around him, he brings great energy. He's an extrovert. Caroline and
Serena are similar characters. She's had a little bit of trouble
with that shoe, Heather Watson. She was looking at it the end of the
second set. Better from Watson. OK, she won the
point. But it was a very late decision to move forward. She nearly
got caught out there. Difficult, difficult to outpunch
Wozniacki from the baseline. Yeah, they look very happy with this
forehand. The funny thing is, it's an irony here, Wozniacki used to do
exactly what Heather does on her forehand, not accelerate the racquet
head on the ball, get locked up. Now look at that, racquet flying at the
ball. What a difference. There's the point, there's the
break. Caroline Wozniacki, who already has a set in the bag, now
leads Heather Watson by 2-1. STUDIO: As things stand, it's going
to be a Wozniacki-Pliskova final tomorrow. We've seen in so many
matches here this week the way things have ebbed and flowed. Who's
to say what might happen in the course of this match. If you want to
follow it, we're going to be leaving this game here on BBC Two in a few
moments' time. We will continue coverage on the red button until
such time and obviously, if it's still going at 1pm, we'll be back
here on BBC Two with the conclusion. We will be on the red button in a
few moments. COMMENTATOR: Caroline Wozniacki has
looked awesome this week. This is her first tournament since Roland
Garros. The way she's been hitting the ball, dispatching her opponents.
You touched at the start that meeting with Simona Halep. It looked
as though the legs had gone from Halep, the concentration. The focus
and mental strength of Wozniacki is so strong. It's solid. Yeah, her
legs are never going to go. She runs all day. A lot of that is to do with
the mind as well. She's super tough. She has never got enough credit in
my mind for spending 67 weeks as world number one. She wins titles
for fun. She gets out there, plays week in, week out. She gives a lot
to the tour and has put together a fabulous group but just needs that
slam title. If she can stay fit, she knows she's in the mix.
She starts her Wimbledon campaign against Timea Babos. She won't even
know that's the first round yet. We're going onto the red button now.
And we return to BBC Two at 1pm. SI KING: Let me guess, you're
seeing a garden, aren't you? DAVE MYERS: Well,
we're seeing a kitchen! With culinary inspiration
from the great outdoors...