Watson v Davis – US Open R1 Preview

By Ros Satar

  • Head to head: Heather Watson 0 – 0 Lauren Davis
  • Watson is ranked 61, and faces USA’s Davis, ranked 84
  • Watson has never advanced past the first round

New York, USA – British No. 1 Heather Watson will take on home favourite Lauren Davis a when she opens her US Open campaign on Monday 31 August.

First up on Court 17 on the first morning of the US Open, Watson will reflect on her US hard court series this summer and might conclude it is time to do much better. She was beaten by Washington wildcard Louise Chirico (who incidentally starts against Johanna Konta) but battled through Toronto qualifying before falling in the second round to Andrea Petkovic, before an early exit in Cincinnati qualifying.

She has been working hard and committed since her run to the third round of Wimbledon, where she was serving for the match against World No. 1 Serena Williams. She definitely has the game to trouble the best, when she is on.

Since working with Diego Veronelli, she has tried to increase her aggression, but Watson at least has enough court smarts to change up her game when she knows it isn’t working – as evidenced earlier this year in a bright and breezy Eastbourne when a raft of unforced errors forced her to switch back to the defensive style that maybe marked her earlier game. When asked about it, she immediately agreed noting that the conditions (think dive bombing seagulls who think they are pterodactyls) and nerves meant a change in strategy to get the win.

She showed her steel in that now infamous third round encounter with Williams, where she had every belief (as she should) that she could take the battle to the best, but she would do well to focus now on the job in hand.

Davis may have done marginally better advancing one round further in Washington at the start of the US hard court summer, but bombed out in Toronto, came through qualifying in Cincinnati but lost easily to Victoria Azarenka and struggled in New Haven last week, losing in the first round of qualification.

Still, do not discount the power of the home crowd, and in the early stages of the US Open the outer courts will really draw the hard core fans in. Watson is not averse in any way to battling against a crowd, and she should win this on paper, and we do expect her to prevail to set up a likely second round against last year’s semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova.

Watson and Davis are scheduled at 11am on Court 17 (4pm BST) – Follow the match live with the Britwatch Tennis Livescores.

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