By Jake Davies
- Cameron Norrie vs Dominic Thiem 
- Heather Watson vs Beatriz Haddad Maia
ACAPULCO, MEXICO – Heather Watson is the sole player Brit in the women’s draw, while the rising Cameron Norrie faces a tough ask in his opening round battle against Dominic Thiem in the men’s draw.
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Cameron Norrie vs Dominic Thiem  H2H: First meeting
Cameron Norrie is embarking on quite the journey. The Brit, who experienced a lot of his success on the Challenger circuit, has made huge strides at ATP level and now knows that doing the unthinkable and getting his first Top 10 win, would put him inside the World’s Top 100 for the first time in his career.
When you look at the current crop of active players on this red clay surface, it it hard to argue against the thought of Dominic Thiem being one of the toughest to overcome. His game is very much built for this surface, not many adjust to the movement of clay like the Austrian and he is a Roland Garros semi-finalist in his own right.
So it really is a huge task for Cameron Norrie to overcome, but what the Brit has shown in spades in the last twelve months – and during Davis Cup against Spain – is that he really can upset the odds and turn the tables in very tricky situations. It is not about forehands and backhands with Norrie, but it is about the size of the fight in the dog and he has a tremendous amount of fight and should make this match an interesting one to watch.
Prediction: Thiem in two tight sets.
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Heather Watson vs Beatriz Haddad Maia H2H: First meeting
This week is a tremendous opportunity for Heather Watson. She has played very well in this part of the world before, winning the title in Monterrey in 2016, which was a very special week for her and she will be hoping for a little bit of magic to play in a similar manner this week in Acapulco.
Watson plays Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the first round in Mexico. Haddad Maia is an extremely gifted player, who has risen inside the World’s Top 70 and does a lot of things very well. She has the capability of winning quick-fire points off of her serve when confident, but also is efficient enough to move into the forecourt and capitalise on those very good serves. Her rise up the rankings is no fluke, she is a dangerous player and Watson will find that out in the early exchanges of their first ever meeting.
I think we will find out very early what sort of week Watson is going to have. The Brit can have disappointing weeks that she would rather forget and move on from, but from out of nowhere she can produce a fine string of results in one single event. The key for Watson is finding the consistency and maybe a tournament like Acapulco can be a starting point going into very big events in Indian Wells and Miami on the hard courts.
Prediction: Watson in three sets
Watson and Haddad Maia are scheduled on Cancha 1, not before 5:30pm (11:30pm). Norrie & Thiem are scheduled on Grand Stand Caliante not before 8:30pm (2:30am Wednesday).
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