Heather Watson in the third round of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK
Heather Watson in the third round of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK | (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Tennis | WTA Austin 2023 | Heather Watson sets up a second-round clash with Sloane Stephens

By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson [Q] def. Danka Kovinic 7-6(2) 6-4
  • Watson will face No. 5 seed Sloane Stephens
  • Watson leads H2H: 5-3 (incl. ITF)
AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA – Heather Watson edged Danka Kovinic to set up a round of 16 clash with Sloane Stephens.


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Heather Watson [Q] def Danka Kovinic 7-6(2) 6-4

Heather Watson capitalised on her match time on the Austin courts to increase her head to head over Danka Kovinic, but not without her customary roller-coaster. Watson was the first to lose her serve, before the first. Changeover, but rallied well to break Kovinic twice in a row, only to lose that advantage to set them all square.

Kovinic kept her nerve to fend off two set points for the Brit, forcing a tie-break. Watson pushed ahead in the tie-break to take the first set.

A nervy start for both players saw three straight breaks of serve at the start of the second set, but it was Watson who headed to the changeover a break up, keeping that advantage throughout before closing out the match on her third match point.


Watson v Sloane Stephens [5] | H2H and Match Fundamentals

Heather Watson [Q] v Sloane Stephens [5] H2H: Watson leads 5-3 (incl. ITF)
WTA Austin Texas, USA
Hard (O) Prize Money: $3,920
Third on Stadium Court, not before 2pm (8pm GMT) Amazon Prime Video <– Sign up for trial


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (Hard Court 2023)

Embed from Getty Images
H2H: Heather Watson (WR 145) Sloane Stephens (WR 51)
Tournament Previous Best Debut Debut
1st Serve Return Points Won % 40.2 34.3
Return Points Won % 45.8 40.3
Break Point Conversion % 43.8 44.7
Break Points Saved % 51.4 59.7
Total Points Won % 51.1 48.1

Watson leads the way with a sharper return game this year, but Stephens has the edge on make the most of her break point chances and getting herself out of trouble when it counts.


Playing Styles & Prediction

Watson should feel high on her confidence now with some solid wins whereas Stephens is probably still smarting over a 6-0 6-0 drubbing at the hands of eventual Merida champion Camila Giorgi last week. But her win over compatriot Taylor Townsend will set her back on a happier path after what has been a low-key year so far. Stephens had no main draw wins until last week and in Austin but In truth the former US Open champion has struggled with form.

Watson is no stranger to struggled in form, but she can battle hard when she must, and has been on court for more than six hours so far. If Watson gets the bit between her teeth, she can make things very uncomfortable for Stephens, but there is no doubt that this has all the hallmarks of a battle coming up.

Prediction: Watson in three sets.


How to Watch/Follow WTA Austin

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