Heather Watson in the 2023 Surbiton Trophy, London, UK
Heather Watson in the 2023 Surbiton Trophy, London, UK | (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images for LTA)

Tennis | WTA Nottingham 2023 | Watson takes on Maria as she continues to build confidence

By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson [Q] def. Jule Niemeier 6-4 6-3
  • Watson v Maria
  • H2H: Maria leads 2-1
NOTTINGHAM, UK – Watson snapped a four-match losing streak to come through qualifying and the opening round as she faces former doubles partner Tatjana Maria.


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Heather Watson [Q] v Tatjana Maria | H2H: Maria leads 2-1

Heather Watson [Q] v Tatjana Maria H2H: Tomova leads 1-0 (ITF)
WTA Nottingham UK
Grass Prize Money: $3,920
First match on Centre Court, 2pm BST Amazon Prime Video <– Sign up for trial


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (Grass 2023, WTA level only)

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H2H: Heather Watson (WR 195) Tatjana Maria (WR 66)
Tournament Previous Best R16 (2018, 2021, 2022) SF (2019)
1st Serve Return Points Won % 32.7 54.5
Return Points Won % 47.4 57.4
Break Point Conversion % 52.0 100.0
Break Points Saved % 50.0 33.3
Total Points Won % 56.9 59.0

Despite having come through qualifying and winning a main draw match, Heather Watson’s stats lag behind Tatjana Maria. Watson only edges the German when it comes to clutch moments and having to save break points.



Playing Styles & Prediction

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Maria enjoyed a run to the semi-final of Wimbledon, and it is worth remembering that she partnered Watson to a quarter-final run in the doubles at Wimbledon in 2018.  They will be well aware of each other’s strengths, and weaknesses.

Watson can switch easily from defence to attacking play and can mix things up with a lot of variety, but consistency can be her biggest issue. We could see a battle of the backhand slices as Maria switched after returning to the tour as a mother from her more traditional two-handed backhand.

Both are very capable at the net, so this is a match that could really go anyway. Watson does come alive during the grass court season, and with a home crowd behind her, can loft her game. She is a confidence player, and having come from behind to beat Jule Niemeier, she could push Maria all the way.

Prediction: Maria in three sets.


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