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Heather Watson hampered by illness in Australian Open first-round defeat

  • Tsvetana Pironkova beats Watson 6-4, 6-0
  • British No1 struggles with nausea and blurred vision

It is impossible not to feel sorry for Heather Watson in defeat. Not only does this most amenable of athletes give her all every time she steps on court, against champion or near rival, but just when she seems on the verge of a genuine breakthrough, something goes wrong.

Arriving in Melbourne from Hobart with her second WTA title and justly proud of her highest career ranking of 38, the British No1 had every expectation of acquitting herself with distinction in the 2015 Australian Open. However, on day two of the tournament, she was plainly drained of energy when nausea and blurred vision struck midway through her match against the Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, who then had only to keep her discipline to win 6-4, 6-0, the second set taking just half an hour.

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