Ten years ago at Wimbledon, a 20-year-old Heather Watson reached the third round of a major for the first time. As a decade passed by, the Guernsey native continued to be a mainstay in Grand Slam fields but couldn’t improve upon that initial breakthrough.

On Friday, that all changed. In her 43rd main draw on the major stage, Watson has made her first trip to the fourth round after holding off Kaja Juvan, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

"Really happy to be into the second week of a Grand Slam for singles finally," she told press afterwards. "I wouldn't still be playing if I thought that ship had sailed."

The closest Watson previously came to reaching the round of 16 occurred at this juncture seven years ago when she was two points away from ousting Serena Williams on Centre Court. While today's outcome resulted in a straight-set victory, there were a fair share of testing moments for Watson to overcome in achieving the long-awaited milestone.

Down a break midway through the first set, she denied Juvan’s attempt to consolidate with an overhead winner. In the eventual tiebreak, Watson’s three set points at 6-3 disappeared as the Slovenian worked her forehand. But that shot let Juvan down after the two traded sides, and a double fault ended the topsy-turvy set.


Watson outhit Juvan thanks to a +12 differential (31 winners, 19 unforced errors).

Watson outhit Juvan thanks to a +12 differential (31 winners, 19 unforced errors).

Watson then broke the match wide open, reeling off 13 successive points to reach 5-0, 15-0. From there, a somewhat complicated finish ensued.

"It wouldn't be me if there wasn't a bit of drama at the end!" Watson exclaimed during her on-court interview.

Juvan got on the scoreboard with a finishing forehand to close a 10-point game on Watson's serve. At 5-1, the home favorite once again reached deuce yet saw her opponent hold with another forehand winner.

With the Brit serving for the contest a second time, Juvan had ample opportunities to extend it. Watson fell behind 0-30 with consecutive unforced errors, and Juvan would have a look at four separate break points. All were saved by Watson, who finally closed the door at the one-hour-and-42-minute mark to avenge her 2021 US Open defeat.

Could a quarterfinal showing be next? It's certainly not out of the question, as Watson will take on fellow unseeded competitor Jule Niemeier. The German eliminated Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.