By Ros Satar
Heather Watson def Alexandra Mueller 6-7(5), 604, 6-3
In a week that has been all-change for Heather Watson, she started her US campaign with a win against USA’s Alexandra Mueller, at the WTA International in Washington D.C.
Watson has just split from her long term coach, Mauricio Hadad, and will be working with LTA lead women’s coach Jeremy Bates throughout the US swing.
The pair had met once before, with Watson coming out the better in two tight sets, but with a slim clay and grass campaign after returning from illness, Watson would be hoping for perhaps an easier start.
But perhaps her rustiness, and Mueller’s strength at having come comfortably through the qualifying rounds showed, as Watson found herself a break behind immediately.
Watson has been looking to evolve her game, and to be more aggressive, banging down aces, and eventually, characteristically fought her way back, forcing Mueller to draw for a tie-break, and looked to have it sewn up with an early lead, but Mueller snuck ahead to take the first set in a little under an hour.
The second set was a lot better for Watson, as it was her turn to put the American under pressure with an early break.
Watson was showing some early signs of the style of play she is looking to introduce – plenty of aces and some nice drop shots at the net, and kept her nose in front to take the second set.
For all her desire for more aggression, Watson should still hold on to her defense skills – her ability to make Mueller play that extra shot paid dividends, again grabbing an early break.
Watson had to re-establish that lead after being broken back, as the clock ticked into two hour territory, letting out a roar of emotion as she won a place to meet France’s Alize Cornet in the second round.
Picture Credit: Keith Allison via CreativeCommons