Heather Watson was knocked out of the Australian Open by 21st seed Anett Kontaveit as the British challenge in the women’s singles came to an end.
It was a gutsy display by the 28-year-old Briton, who battled from 3-0 and 4-1 down and 5-2 down in the tie-break to take the opening set.
The Estonian fought back to take the second set before breaking twice in the decider en route to a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2 victory for a place in round three.
She will now face USA’s Shelby Rogers.
The Briton, ranked 60th, made a sluggish start inside the John Cain Arena against last year’s quarter-finalist, whom she had lost to in three of their previous five meetings.
But she soon settled and broke back in the seventh game with a superb cross-court forehand winner before winning five consecutive points to take the first-set tie-break.
A tight second set was effectively decided in the ninth game when Kontaveit’s best form came to the fore, producing two great backhand winners to seal her second break.
Watson’s own form dipped in the decider. The Briton’s win percentage on her first serve had fallen from 71% in the first set to 53% as she was broken twice more with Kontaveit completing her win with another backhand winner.
“I’m really happy with the way I played,” said the 25-year-old. “I hung in there – it was such a tough match.
“The momentum was swinging. I managed to fight for everything.”