Heather Watson produced a valiant performance in her first match for two months due to glandular fever, losing in three sets to Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele as Britain's interest in the French Open singles ended in the first round at Roland Garros.

In the 21 year old's first match since March, Watson went down 4-6 6-2 4-6 to Voegele, ranked eight places below her in the WTA rankings as Britian suffered three successive first round exits in the women's draw.

After being diagnosed with the illness in March, Watson spent six weeks resting before returning to training at the start of the month, and while she will rue a number of missed opportunities, not least three break points in the eighth game of the third set, her performance will give her great impetuous ahead of the grass court season.

Heather Watson
Watson went down in three sets in her first match for two months.

Having spent two months on the side-lines due to injury, Watson returned to action as Britian's only remaining singles entrant in the French Open, after first round exits for Laura Robson and Elena Baltacha, while Andy Murray's back injury had seen him miss out altogether.

Voegele's preparation for her first match at Roland Garros since 2010 was far from ideal after defeat to Britain's Baltacha in Belgium last week but she got off to the perfect start in the French capital as she broke Watson in the fifth game to open up a 3-2 lead.

It was an advantage she looked like converting into a first set lead as Watson failed to deal with the heavy hitting Swiss, with two set points coming in the ninth game.

But the British No.2 reeled off three successive points before staying alive in the set at the second time of asking to leave the world No.56 to serve out for the first set.

Voegele was able to serve out the set however and hand Watson a mountain to climb on her return.

Watson could have been forgiven for folding, but she produced a display full of guts to break at the start of the second set with a spate of punishing ground strokes.

The errors continued to come when Watson was forced onto the back foot and moved around the baseline, Voegele attempting to use her physical advantage to break back immediately.

Parity lasted for just a further game as Watson came back from 0-30 to cruise into a 4-2 lead, before winning the next two to level the match as Voegele crumbled under the pressure of Watson's unbreakable resilience.

However, that same form evaded her at the start of the third and deciding set, a break for Voegele swinging the momentum back in her favour, despite a solid hold from the Guernsey-born Watson.

Watson's chance to break back had seemingly gone in the eighth game when three break point chances came her way, but Voegele produced three first-serves and the Brit was pushed back onto the baseline as the 23 year old held to go within a game of round two.

And Voegele duly served out the match, a victory met with frustration by Watson who threw her racket to the ground; a true reflection of her performance in her first match since March.