By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson v Kristyna Pliskova | H2H tied at 1-1
  • Katie Boulter v Elina Svitolina [5] | First Meeting
  • Harriet Dart [Q] v Misaki Doi | First Meeting
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Plenty of British action to look forward to on the second day of the Australian Open, as Heather Watson, Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart all start their campaigns.

 

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Heather Watson v Kristyna Pliskova | H2H tied at 1-1

Off the back of her run to the semi-final of Hobart, Heather Watson found herself squeaking into the main draw, and has the confidence boost of a jump firmly back into the Top 100 as a result of her Hobart run on Monday.

She has not faced the Kristyna Pliskova in since 2016, and a lot has happened in both of their careers since then, and both of them have started the year with a couple of tournaments behind them, so in terms of match sharpness they have prepared pretty solidly.

What Pliskova will be able to do undoubtedly stronger than Watson is clobber big serves, and although Watson has worked a lot on her serving and developing a more aggressive game, she has more superior movement and will need to capitalise on this to try and get the better of Pliskova.

Watson will need all her abilities of mixing things up and bringing out a lot of variety to try and keep an edge in a match where she could easily find herself rapidly overpowered.

Prediction: Watson in three sets.

READ MORE | Australian Open 2020 Prize Money | How much will the Brits earn at the Australian Open

 

Katie Boulter v Elina Svitolina [5] | First Meeting

Katie Boulter in the Fed Cup tie between Great Britain and Slovenia in Bath, UK 2019

Katie Boulter in the Fed Cup tie between Great Britain and Slovenia in Bath, UK 2019 | (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)

It was April when we last saw Katie Boulter at her best – she was the heroine who helped guide Team GB into the Fed Cup World Group but at a cost, as a fracture in her back saw her off the tour until November last year, when she came back at ITF level events at the end of the season.

She started with qualifying wins at the same level before a match in Adelaide.

She will face Elina Svitolina who has made the quarter-finals here twice, but comes into the season with just one match, a lost opener in Brisbane.

It is a tough draw for Boulter, who is using her protected ranking to get into the main draw, but it a base to build on after missing so much of the season. Although Svitolina has not played much, her overall consistency is her watch-word, and her experience will be more than enough for her to handle the returning Brit.

Prediction: Svitolina in straight sets.

 

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Harriet Dart [Q] v Misaki Doi | First Meeting

Harriet Dart in the first round of the Australian Open 2019, Melbourne

Harriet Dart in the first round of the Australian Open 2019, Melbourne | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

This time last year, Harrier Dart had put together a great qualifying run to earn a match-up with her idol Maria Sharapova. However it proved to be a chastening experience on a couple of days that saw Brits crying all over the place in Melbourne!

This time, Dart has a very real chance to make another Slam run, as she faces Misaki Doi in her opener. It will be their first meeting, and Dart can carry some confidence with her in a decent run of winning performances under her belt, while Doi has played just one match this year.

Dart might look diminutive but she can find the lines with her ground-strokes and can generate a fair bit of pace behind them. She hits with a lot of depth and surprising force, and will look to pin Doi to the back of the court, stopping her from coming in and dictating with her own style of aggressive play.

Prediction: Dart in three sets.

 

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