Johanna Konta vs. Heather Watson, US Open R1 Preview

2020 US OPEN – R1 preview + prediction: ???
?? (9) Johanna Konta vs. ?? Heather Watson

The British number 1 and British number 2 will do battle in the opening round of the 2020 US Open on Tuesday when the 9th seeded Johanna Konta takes on a resurgent Heather Watson. Konta holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Watson and heads into this clash as a strong favourite after a great run at the Western & Southern Open last week. On the other hand, Watson made a great start to the season and will fancy her chances of causing an upset if she can recapture that form.

Johanna Konta heads into this year’s US Open as one of the form players after a strong showing at the Western & Southern Open last week where she made the semi-finals. Konta stormed through her first 3 matches of the event without dropping a set or dropping serve in wins over Kirsten Flipkens, Vera Zvonareva and Maria Sakkari. Konta’s run ended in the final 4 where she was defeated by Victoria Azarenka in 3 sets. Konta has an impressive recent record at Grand Slam events, the 29-year-old reached at least the quarter-final stage in 3 of the last 4 major events, including a quarter-final run at Flushing Meadows last year.

Watson has a very poor record at Grand Slam events. Watson’s record at the US Open is troubling, Watson has never won a single main draw match in 8 previous attempts. Watson has played in a couple of events since the tour restart, both ended in opening round losses, a straight set loss to Jennifer Brady in Lexington, followed by a 3-set loss to Bernarda Pera at the Western & Southern Open last week. Watson will be keen to recapture some of her early season form which was her reach the semi-finals in Hobart and win her fourth career title in Acapulco.

Konta has handled Watson nicely in their two previously completed matches. Konta defeated Watson 6-4 6-4 in Indian Wells in 2017, more recently Konta prevailed 6-4 7-6 in Nottingham in 2018.

Recent form, history at majors and past head-to-head record all suggest a comfortable win for Konta here. However, the counter-punching ability of Watson does have the potential to cause Konta some problems, both of their previous matches were fairly close, the potential is there. Nevertheless, Konta is full of confidence at the moment after a great run last week and her previous success at major events, Konta is too strong for Watson in all departments, Watson will need to hope Konta has an off day in order to make this one competitive.

Prediction: Johanna Konta to defeat Heather Watson in 2 sets
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Lesia Tsurenko vs. Heather Watson, Birmingham R1 Preview

?? Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham R1 Preview
?? Lesia Tsurenko vs. ?? (wc) Heather Watson

An interesting opening round clash at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham sees Lesia Tsurenko come up against Britain’s number 2: Heather Watson. This is a particularly important week for Watson as she looks to build some much needed momentum before heading to Eastbourne where she is defending semi-finalist points. Tsurenko and Watson both play their best tennis on a quicker surface and both have similar strengths, expect a close match here.

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Lesia Tsurenko’s form has been typically streaky in 2018. The Ukrainian does arrives in Birmingham on the back of a great run to the round of 16 at Roland Garros, however a retirement after just 2 games against Garbine Muguruza in that round of 16 clash was a very disappointing ending to the tournament. Tsurenko had some decent results on grass last year, a semi-final showing in s-Hertogenbosch and a third round appearance at Wimbledon, in theory it is a surface that should favour Tsurenko’s game.

Heather Watson sits precariously inside the top 100. Watson has a heap of points to defend in Eastbourne next week after reaching the semi-finals last year, an early round exit will see Watson’s ranking plummet. Watson has no points to defend in Birmingham after a first round exit last year so she can release some of the incoming pressure with a good week at the Nature Valley Classic. Watson arrives in Birmingham on the back of a second round showing in Nottingham where she was beaten by Johanna Konta in straight sets.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. It was Watson who won their only recent encounter, a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory on grass in Eastbourne last year.

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Johanna Konta vs. Heather Watson, Nottingham R2 Preview

?? Nature Valley Open, Nottingham R2 Preview
?? (4) Johanna Konta vs. ?? Heather Watson

Britain’s number 1 and number 2 will go head-to-head when Johanna Konta takes on Heather Watson at the second round stage in Nottingham on Thursday. Konta and Watson both play some of their best tennis on grass, both claimed comfortable opening round wins and will head into this match full of confidence. Can Watson secure her first win over Konta?

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Konta and Watson both powered through their opening round matches on Tuesday at the Nature Valley Open. Konta defeated Kurumi Nara 6-2 6-3 whilst Watson defeated Danielle Lao 6-1 6-3. The eyes of the British public turn to the grass court swing at this time of the year, Konta and Watson have both thrived in this situation in the past and will be hoping to do so again as both have had disappointing seasons thus far.

It was Konta who won the only previously completed match between the pair, a fairly comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory at Indian Wells last year.

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Victoria Azarenka vs Heather Watson, Indian Wells R1 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, ??? Indian Wells R1 Preview
?? Victoria Azarenka vs ?? Heather Watson

Victoria Azarenka will make her much anticipated return to the WTA tour with an opening round matchup against Britain’s Heather Watson at the BNP Paribas Open. Azarenka is a two-time former champion in Indian Wells having won the event in 2012 and 2016. The former world number 1 will be in action for the first time since Wimbledon last year after a lengthy custody battle kept her away from the game. It will be interesting to see what level the Belarusian can bring to the court in her return in what has historically been a good matchup for Azarenka.

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Azarenka has a great record in Indian Wells, the gritty hard court surface really suits the Belarusian’s game. Azarenka has been preparing for her return for months, she is fit and ready to go. It would not be surprising to see Azarenka have a deep run at the BNP Paribas Open.

Heather Watson arrives at the BNP Paribas Open with 3 consecutive opening round losses to her name. Watson was in action last week in Acapulco where she was beaten in the opening round by Beatriz Haddad Maia in 3 sets, a match Watson would have expected to win. Prior to that Watson was beaten by Roberta Vinci in the opening round of qualifying at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and suffered a very disappointing opening round loss to Yulia Putintseva at the Australian Open. Watson’s results at Indian Wells have generally been modest, her best result was a run to the fourth round in 2015.

Azarenka holds a dominant 5-0 head-to-head record over Watson, on a hard court that record is 3-0, all 3 wins were in straight sets, most recently a 6-2 6-4 win at the Rogers Cup in 2014. The most recent match between the pair took place last year at Wimbledon, Azarenka won that match 3-6 6-1 6-4 in what a very competitive match.

To view my Analysis / Prediction of this match: Click here

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Heather Watson, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, ??? Acapulco R1 Preview
?? Beatriz Haddad Maia vs ?? Heather Watson

Beatriz Haddad Maia and Heather Watson will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the opening round stage in Acapulco. Both players will see this as a winnable opening round clash at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, an important match for both.

Beatriz Haddad Maia is a player on the rise, perhaps the most exciting prospect in Brazilian tennis right now. The 21-year-old has had a tough start to the season, Haddad Maia has been dealt tough draws at each event she has competed in which has ensured an early exit at each event. Most recently, Haddad Maia came agonizingly close to helping guide Brazil into the Fed Cup world group 2 playoffs, Haddad Maia won her first couple of matches before falling to Cepede Royg in a third set tiebreak which ended Brazil’s chances of progression. It will be interesting to see how Haddad Maia rebounds after such a devastating loss.

Heather Watson’s most recent matches were also in Fed Group 1 playoffs. Watson won all 3 of her singles matches against much lower ranked opponents as Great Britain successfully qualified for the world group 2 playoffs. Watson’s last tour level match was at the Australian Open over a month ago where she suffered a very disappointing straight set loss to Yulia Putintseva. Watson did manage to reach the semi-finals in Hobart earlier in the year, so overall she has won a decent match of matches in 2018, albeit against inferior opposition.

This should be an interesting match-up between two contrasting styles. The powerful left-handed: Haddad Maia, against the consistent, baseline game of Heather Watson.

To view my Analysis / Prediction for this match: Click here

Victoria Azarenka vs Heather Watson, Wimbledon R3 Preview

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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Caroline Wozniacki vs Heather Watson, Eastbourne SF Preview

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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Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Heather Watson, Eastbourne R3 Preview

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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Dominika Cibulkova vs Heather Watson, Eastbourne R2 Preview

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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Kristina Mladenovic vs Heather Watson, Acapulco R2 Preview

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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