By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson v Bethanie Mattek-Sands [Q] – First meeting
  • Watson back on tour since Australian Open exit
  • Fed Cup wins were a boost
ACAPULCO, MEXICO – Heather Watson hits the tour again with a first match-up against qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

 

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Heather Watson v Bethanie Mattek-Sands [Q] – First meeting

It feels like a while ago since we last saw Heather Watson in action, although she was the stand-out player in the singles as Great Britain advanced to the Fed Cup World Group play-offs. As always with Watson, while on paper this ought to be a comfortable win for the Brit, she can have a tendency to make life hard on herself.

Add to that the fact that Bethanie Mattek-Sands is match-sharp on these courts. She had quite the battle in her first round of qualifying, having to come from a set down to book her spot in the final round, but stormed through that for the loss of just one game.

Watson has a natural skill in defence, she is quick around the court and quite a dogged competitor. She has also recognised though that she is maybe not carrying as much height as some other players, and needs to get more free points on her serve, so she has changed her game to be a lot more aggressive – sometimes it pays off.

What does impress is that she does have the court smarts to change up her game – and she should not be afraid to come in – Mattek-Sands doubles prowess of course needs no explanation and she will look to keep Watson on the move.

Again, and we find ourselves saying this often on a Watson preview – this is a winnable match in a decent field and Watson could well do with a return to winning ways, certainly as far as the tour goes. But she ought to take a lot of confidence from her performance in Fed Cup. She just needs to translate that tenacity and grit out on the grind of the tour.

Prediction: Watson in three sets.

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