It gave her the confidence to steal two break points on Watson’s next service points and Niemeier needed only one to gain the first advantage. At this stage, Watson still had not managed to win a single point on the Niemeier serve. She broke that duck in the sixth match but could not stop her cementing the break with a comfortable hold.
When Watson lost the set by getting broken again, the match appeared to be running away from her. Those concerns deepened with another break early in the second set but Watson, as she has done often here in her career, dug deep and managed to drag the set back level.
But two forced errors and a double fault silenced a Centre Court crowd hoping for a home win and the momentum seemed undeniable. Every minor victory for Watson was met with a mini-fist pump and perhaps the loudest cheer of the day came when she successfully defended the first match point.
But another failure to return to set up another and this time and again the crowd came alive to celebrate Watson’s brilliant lob. It was to be third time unlucky, though, as Watson netted and the 30-year-old left Centre Court for perhaps the last time.