It's a very British thing- part of our psyche- and possibly something Gordon Brown's gonna have put into the constitution (if not the British constitution then the LTA's guidebook at least)- that a young tennis player losing her match is seen as signs of potential for the future.
Heather Watson is only 17, from Gurnsy (wherever that is), and playing in her first senior tournament in Canada (hmm I know where that is). She is ranked somewhere around 760 and played a player of 133. It was a close match and she took 18 games from her opponent before losing in straight sets. It definately does show her potential, after winning the US Open junior tournament, that she can transition from junior to senior. Something her 'colleague' Laura Robson (2yrs younger) has managed to do also since winning the girls Wimbledon.
I imagine that people may criticise an attitude that looks for good-performances-to-show-potential-for-the-furture and would quite like us to just start winning stuff. And I would quite agree if a player starts a match looking beaten and hoping to do well (meaning I hope I dont fall over too many times), which really seems to be embedded into the national psyche. But losing to an opponent who is higher ranked and played well is nothing to be ashamed off.
The confidence and determination to play well and win seems to applied liberally to tiny players in other countries- I think Americans get an injection at birth so they already have an advantage. And I mentioned before (you'll all remember) I think British players are rather left behind. But our young girls and women seem to catching up quicker than the men. Even if they are world beaters (yet) they perform well at lower level tournaments, and beat players they are 'supposed to'.