Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva vs 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Heather Watson will begin her Australian campaign with a tough opening round clash against Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Heather Watson arrives in Melbourne with a renewed sense of confidence having gone through the qualifying draw to reach the semi-finals in Hobart last week. Putintseva and Watson are two players that have had some good success at the Grand Slam level given their rankings of outside the top 50. Who will win this battle and reach the second round at Melbourne Park?
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Heather Watson will arrive in Melbourne battle-hardened and with a good amount of confidence. Watson started her season in Brisbane where she won a couple of matches before falling at the final hurdle in the qualifying draw. Watson successfully made it through the qualifying draw in Hobart and made it all the way through to the semi-finals where she pushed Elise Mertens to 3 sets.
Yulia Putintseva was also in action in Hobart last week. Putintseva did claim a good win over Naomi Osaka in the opening round but was comprehensively beaten by Lesia Tsurenko in the next round. Putintseva competed in Auckland the week before where she suffered a disappointing opening round loss to Ysaline Bonaventure.
The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Most recently it was Watson who won 6-2 6-4 in Wuhan.
Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ SF #2 Preview
(2) 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs (Q) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Two former champions will go head-to-head at the semi-final stage in Hobart on Friday when defending champion: Elise Mertens takes on 2015 champion: Heather Watson. The Hobart International is the longest running WTA tournament that has not had multiple time winners, either Mertens or Watson will reach Saturday’s final and have a chance to break this record. This is should be a highly competitive match between two fairly evenly matches opponents.
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Elise Mertens has started 2018 in superb form. Mertens had a good week at the Hopman Cup where she won 2 of her 3 matches, beating Daria Gavrilova and Eugenie Bouchard, in defeat Mertens was gallant as she pushed Angelique Kerber more than any other player in Perth. Mertens claimed her first career title in Hobart last year, doing it the hard way having come through the qualifying draw. The 2nd seed seemingly has a good chance to defend her title this week, Mertens started the event with straight set wins over Kurumi Nara and Beatriz Haddad Maia before securing her spot in the semi-finals courtesy of Monica Niculescu handing the Belgian a walkover.
Like Mertens, Heather Watson always loves playing in Hobart. The 2015 Hobart International champion has already won 5 matches this week having come through the qualifying draw. In the main draw, Watson has claimed 3 impressive wins in straight sets. Watson eliminated the 3rd seeded Sorana Cirstea in the opening round before beating Jaimee Fourlis comfortably 6-2 6-2. Watson booked her spot in the final 4 with a 6-0 6-4 win over Vekic. Watson was generally in full control of the match, dominant until 6-0 5-0. It was a nervy finish but Watson eventually got over the line.
The only previous match between the pair took place in Luxembourg last year, Mertens won that match 6-4 6-4. Will Mertens repeat that result and step closer to defending her title?
Hobart International 🇦🇺🌧️ QF Preview
🇭🇷 Donna Vekic vs (Q) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
2015 Hobart International champion Heather Watson will be back in action on Thursday where she takes on Donna Vekic at the quarter-final stage. Watson has done things the hard week this week, the Brit was forced to battle her way through the qualifying draw, not the position Watson is used to finding herself in at an international level event. Watson will face a tough test against Vekic, the young Croatian has rocketed through to the quarter-finals in Hobart without dropping a set.
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Vekic has made a good start to her first appearance at the Hobart International. Vekic started the week with a commanding 6-4 6-2 win over Tatjana Maria before getting past a wayward Marketa Voundrosova 6-4 6-4. These have been an important couple of wins for Vekic after the a tough 3 set loss to Flipkens in the first round in Auckland last week.
Heather Watson has already won 4 matches this week having come through the qualifying draw. Watson started the event with an easy win over Kimberly Birrell before coming from a set down to beat Nao Hibino and book her spot in the main draw. Watson eliminated the 3rd seeded Sorana Cirstea 7-5 6-3 In the opening round, a big win for the Brit. Watson cruised into the quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-2 win over Jaimee Fourlis.
The only previous match between the pair ended in a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win for Vekic on clay in Charleston in 2015.
Wimbledon 🇬🇧💂🍓 Day 5, R3 Match Preview:
🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka vs (wc) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Victoria Azarenka is building momentum nicely at SW19. Azarenka overcame a tough early round test against Catherine Bellis where she came from a set down before cruising past the 15th seeded Elena Vesnina in straight sets. Azarenka will come up against Britain’s Heather Watson on Friday, an opponent the Belarusian has a perfect record against.
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Aegon International, 🇬🇧 Eastbourne SF #1 Preview
(6) 🇩🇰 Caroline Wozniacki vs (wc) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Former Champion Caroline Wozniacki is again looking extremely tough to breakdown this week in Eastbourne, the Dane will come up against Heather Watson in Friday’s first semi-final at the Aegon International. Wozniacki is in great form this week having come past three solid opponents, most recently a three set win over world number 2, Simona Halep. Watson is also in great form, arguably playing the best tennis she has played all year and will enter this match with nothing to lose, making the Brit a potentially dangerous opponent.
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Aegon International, 🇬🇧 Eastbourne R3 Preview
(14) 🇷🇺 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs (wc) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
An intriguing third round clash at the Aegon International in Eastbourne sees the 14th seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova take on Heather Watson and the British crowd. Watson has been in inspired form in front of her home crowd this week, the Brit has already claimed upset wins over Lesia Tsurenko and Dominika Cibulkova and will hoping to make Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova her third victim when they go head-to-head on Wednesday.
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Aegon International, 🇬🇧 Eastbourne R2 Preview
(4) 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova vs (wc) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Dominika Cibulkova begins her title defence at the Aegon International with a tricky second round clash against local hopeful Heather Watson. Cibulkova arrives in Eastbourne in poor form and in desperate need of a form reversal given all the points she has to defend this week as last year’s champion and the quarter-final points she will have to defend at Wimbledon next month. The Slovakian will need to be on her game on Monday if she is to get past her first hurdle, her opponent Heather Watson got off to a good start in Eastbourne by defeating Lesia Tsurenko in straight sets and enjoys playing on grass in Britain.
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Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🍐 Acapulco R2 Preview
(2) Kristina Mladenovic vs Heather Watson
An interesting second round clash at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL on Wednesday sees the second seeded Kristina Mladenovic come up against Heather Watson. Mladenovic is playing good tennis in recent weeks, most notably at the premier level event in St. Petersburg where the Frenchwoman claimed her first career title. Watson is not in such great form having only won 5 of her last 7 matches. Nevertheless, matches between Mladenovic and Watson are usually close and I suspect this one will be no different…
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Australian Open, 🇦🇺 First Round Match Preview
(18) 🇦🇺 Samantha Stosur vs 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
Top ranked Australian Sam Stosur will begin her Australian Open campaign on Tuesday with a tough opening round clash against Heather Watson. Stosur’s poor record in Australia has been well documented over the years, Stosur suffered an extremely disappointing first round loss to Kristyna Pliskova at the opening stage in Melbourne last year. Stosur will be desperate to avoid another first round loss in Melbourne as her time runs out to make an impact at her home Slam.
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2016 Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro R2 Preview 🇧🇷
(15) 🇺🇦 Elina Svitolina vs 🇬🇧 Heather Watson
A great opportunity to reach the third round will present itself to both Elina Svitolina and Heather Watson on Tuesday. The pair will go head-to-head for just the second time in a match that both ladies will see as a very winnable one.
Elina Svitolina played a solid opening round match in her Olympic debut. The Ukrainian fought from a set down to record a 2-6 6-1 6-3 win over Andrea Petkovic. The slow, dead hard courts in Rio suit the Ukrainian very well, Svitolina looms as a player that can cause some damage in Rio.
Heather Watson was also required to go the distance in her opening round match in Rio. Heather claimed a gutsy 6-4 6-7 6-3 win over Shuai Peng. Watson didn’t play particularly well but will just be happy that she got the win given her recent struggles. Watson arrived in Rio having won just 2 of her last 10 matches, therefore there are little expectations for Watson to perform well in Rio which could work in the Brit’s favour.
Watson won the only previous match between the pair, a 3-6 7-5 6-4 on the grass in Eastbourne last year. Tuesday’s clash in Rio will be very different, the hard courts in Rio are not very lively, this match will feature some very long rallies given both will struggle to hit through the surface. Ultimately, I suspect Svitolina will be a bit too strong given she is usually the more consistent player and her movement is probably better. Watson’s recent form suggests she is unlikely to get through this match.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Heather Watson in 3 sets