Watson won their only encounter at the Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis at the end of last year
ABU DHABI, UAE – Heather Watson will face fellow Brit Jodie Burrage who comes back in as a lucky loser, in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open.
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Heather Watson v Jodie Burrage [LL] | First tour level meeting
The only two Brits in the Abu Dhabi draw will face each other in the opening main draw round, as Jodie Burrage lost out in the last round of qualifying, only to come back in as a lucky loser. Unlucky though, as she will face British No. 2 Heather Watson.
The pair faced each other at the end of last year in the Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis, a far more low-key affair organised by Jamie Murray than the summer editions and designed more to give the British players a chance to tune up before the start of the season.
Watson once more was in commanding form over the rest of the Brits, and Burrage, who had stormed through the summer during the elite sport restart took a little time to warm up.
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Burrage is court-fit though, having romped through the first round of qualifying, but came up a little short in the final round, but has been given another shot, albeit against Watson. But one this is for sure – she is not shy about taking the battle to the bigger names in British Tennis, scoring the notable scalp in the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis over British No. 1 Johanna Konta.
She will come into this with the double benefit of a free hit and all the pressure will be firmly on Watson’s shoulders. Last year, Watson started the year very brightly before lockdown hit, and although her summer in the team competition was formidable, she struggled to bring that form into the tour and the abbreviated season.
Although you would expect the more experienced Watson to come through this, Burrage seemed to pick up a lot of scheme after a career that has been blighted by injuries. Her run of wins in the summer has given her a lot of confidence, and we should be seeing more of her in qualifying and main draw tour events over the year.
She will be up against the usual court craft of Watson who, on her day, can be a defensive/attacking headache for a lot of players. But Watson can take a more circuitous route to a win so it would be no surprise if this one goes the distance.
Prediction: Watson in three sets.
Watson and Burrage are scheduled 5th on Court 1, not before 4pm (12pm GMT).
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