By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Heather Watson [WC] def. Maryna Zanevska 6-1 7-6(5)
  • Faces No. 18 seed Anastasija Sevastova
  • Head to head: Sevastova leads 1-0
LONDON, UK – Heather Watson continues her recent run of form on the grass to set up second round clash with Anastasija Sevastova.

 

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Heather Watson [WC] def. Maryna Zanevska 6-1 7-6(5)

British No. 2 Heather Watson is enjoying a welcome reversal of fortune as she comes into Wimbledon on a great run of form. Having been sorely lacking consistency this year, a new coaching set-up has given her a new lease of confidence.

She hit the first round with four solid wins behind her from Eastbourne as she got off to a real flyer against Maryna Zanevska in the first set, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before the Ukrainian salvaged a single game.

That is not to say she was not in a position to make Watson work, forcing her to battle for the set on her third set point. She created more chances for herself in the second set, despite being broken in the first game. She put Watson under immediate pressure forcing the Brit to save two break points.

Zanevska was also more successful in fending off Watson both at the beginning and towards the end of the set, saving three match points and breaking Watson as she served for her spot in the second round. The tie-break saw the advantage switch from one to the other, with Zanevska squandering a slim mini-break lead, before Watson cleared the match for the fourth time of asking.

Such roller-coasters with Watson have rarely had a happy ending of late, so it was with some relief she described the match in her post-match press-conference.

“First rounds are always tough. I’d never played Maryna before. I wasn’t really sure. Like, you can watch as many videos as you want, but it’s different being out there on the court against them.

“I felt I got off to a great start. I felt very solid. In the second set, I felt the same. I just felt that she served extremely well in that second set, especially on the deuce side she hit a lot of aces down the T. Then that game at 5-4, you know, I thought I served very well. She just made me play the extra ball. It didn’t go my way.

“But I was pleased with how I hung in there and was able to close it out in the end.”

 

Watson v Anastasija Sevatsova [18] | H2H: Sevastova leads 1-0

It is a good long while since she has faced the Latvian, who can go through every emotion under the sun and moon on court. Moreover, as good as Watson’s recent run was, Anastasija Sevastova won just her second tour title in the lead up to Wimbledon, winning the Mallorca Open.

Given that their respective fortunes have gone through a fair mangling since the last time they faced each other, four years ago in Pattaya. While it was such a long time ago, Watson did remember the encounter, and a more recent one on the doubles this season – not that it seemed to make a difference to her.

She explained: “She won a title recently in Mallorca, I think. So she’s playing really well on the grass. She’s a tough opponent. Like you said, I played her a long time ago, so that’s not much to go off.

“But I look forward to playing her next. I played her just in doubles the other week. Again, that won’t help – not really. Not on the doubles court. (Smiling).”

Watson can expect an aggressive baseline game and the Latvian is pretty strong off both wings, but maybe the Brit’s speed and agility can lock her into returns, on maybe Sevastova’s less consistent serving.

The Brit has been enjoying the grass simply for the fact she loves coming into the net, and could make Sevastova feel a little more vulnerable in the face of rapid fire volleys.

This could actually be a tough one for Watson to pull out of the bag, and Sevastova’s progression to a career high of No. 18 in the world this year demonstrates a level of consistency that might be coming Watson’s way, but perhaps a little too late for a third round run at SW19.

Prediction: Sevastova in three sets.

 

Who is Watson playing? Anastasija Sevastova [LAT] WR. 19
Head to Head? Sevastova leads 1-0
What time is Watson playing & where? No. 2 Court, 11:30am BST
Where/How to watch Watson’s match? BBC & Eurosport | Tennis on UK TV

 

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