By Ros Satar, in Birmingham
- Heather Watson [WC] v Elina Svitolina 
- Naomi Broady [WC] v Alizé Cornet
BIRMINGHAM, UK – The Brits kick off the first day of action in Birmingham as wildcards Heather Watson and Naomi Broady open their Aegon Classic Campaigns.
Heather Watson [WC] v Elina Svitolina  – H2H: 1-1
There could be a glimmer of hope for former British No. 1 Heather Watson, when she takes on highest seed standing Elina Svitolina – she beat her Ukrainian on grass in their first meeting just two years ago. A lot of things have changed since then. Watson, who was inside the Top 100 at the time. Some high level losses has seen the Brit fall to outside the Top 100 but back on grass could give her the confidence she needs to spring a surprise.
Grass is not Svitolina’s surface, it is fair to say, with no wins at all in Birmingham in three attempts and indeed just three grass court wins in the past two seasons.Although Watson fell in the first round in Nottingham her confidence has to be high with a run to the lower tier Surbiton final at the start of thw grass court season, and whichever way you look at it, she has more match sharpness on the grass already this season.
Both play a solid attacking game, and the changes Watson made to her game a few years ago to try and challenge the big hitters more has paid off in part. But she still possesses a good defensive streak and can make adjustments quickly on the fly, and if the conditions stay hot and dry, we can expect a lively court. This is winnable by Watson but in the past their matches have been three setters so we can maybe expect the same here.
Prediction: Watson in three sets.
Naomi Broady [WC] v Alizé Cornet – First Meeting
The same could be true for Naomi Broady as she takes on the feisty Alizé Cornet in the last match on Centre Court. Cornet too has never managed to advance in Birmingham. Broady also played one of the lower tier ITF events, returning home to Stockport and making the semi-final of her home tournament.
Broady’s bit hitting style suits this surface and she certainly has the power to keep Cornet at bay. She needs to go after the comparatively weak Cornet serve as we ought to expect Broady to feel more at home here than the Frenchwoman.
Prediction: Broady in three sets.
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