By Ros Satar

Watson gets a second chance – in as Lucky Loser

  • Heather Watson [LL] v Daria Gavrilova – First meeting

MADRID, SPAIN – Heather Watson gets a reprieve after losing in the second round of qualifying, as she nets a first round encounter with Daria Gavrilova.

Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules

The Brit had come through a very tight first round qualifying match, and a competitive first set in her second round, before losing out in straight sets, but with the withdrawal of Yulia Putintseva with a respiratory infection, the Brit is back in the main draw.

It’s a very quick turnaround, as she heads out first on court on Sunday to face freshly minted Aussie Gavrilova. Although the Aussie picked up a couple of wins on the green/grey clay of Charleston, she lost her Fed Cup singles rubber on clay against the USA, as she makes her debut in Madrid.

For Watson, the chance is there – she at least has two matches under her belt on the clay at altitude in the Caja Magica, and there is a chance to advance past the first round in Madrid after making her debut here last year.

Watson has an all round game and the clay ought to suit the natural defensive capabilities she has, but perhaps Gavrilova has a mental edge and gritty attitude that keeps her in the scrap. Watson is not averse to a good battle by any means, but it has been a challenge for the Brit to close out some tough matches.

This is a tough one for Watson – Gavrilova is fearless, and the Brit may fear that although lower in the rankings she has more to lose. And with Olympic qualification positions on the line, a good run on the clay is what Watson needs right now.

Prediction: Gavrilova in three sets.

Watson and Gavrilova are scheduled on Pista 7 at 11am (10am BST).

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