Heather Watson in the first round of the Australian Open 2020, Melbourne
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 22: Heather Watson of Great Britain plays a backhand during her Women's Singles first round match against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic on day three of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Tennis | WTA Acapulco | Watson takes on returning Vandeweghe in opener

By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson [7] v Coco Vandeweghe
  • First meeting between the pair
ACAPULCO, MEXICO – No. 7 seed Heather Watson takes on the returning Coco Vandeweghe as the Brit looks to continue her rise back up the rankings


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Heather Watson [7] v Coco Vandeweghe | First meeting

While British No. 1 Johanna Konta continues to try and build up her confidence via training, Heather Watson, who is back up to being the British No. 2, will lead the British charge in Acapulco.

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Up first for her is Coco Vandeweghe whose battles with injury saw her off the tour from the end of September 2018 to a return at the end of July. Vandeweghe worked her way up through ITF events on her comeback, save for a first round exit to Sofia Kenin at the US Open, before winning the Houston final at the end of the season.

Watson finished 2019 well, and went on a strong run in Hobart coming through qualifying to reach the semi-final, and reached the second round of the Australian Open. Her Fed Cup encounter may not have been quite as strong as she would like but she is firmly back in the Top 100.

Once more she has demonstrated how her mix of defensive play and attack can grind out wins, good footwork and nimble hands at the net can make her a headache for more one-dimensional players. She will need her returns to be on point to contend with Vandeweghe’s serve and all round aggressive game.

Watson will not be able to rely on coming forward to out-smart the American, who can be quite adept at the net herself so perhaps this will be a time for the Brit to deploy a more defensive and patient game. Vandeweghe is not the biggest fan of extended rallies and at times her fitness and movement have been criticised.

Watson should be prepared for the long haul for a win here.

Prediction: Watson in three sets.


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