Watson beats rain and her Birmingham curse


By Ros Satar, in Birmingham

  • Heather Watson def. Camila Giorgi 6-4 7-5
  • Picks up her first win in Birmingham since 2013

BIRMINGHAM, UK – Heather Watson got the Brits in the main draw off to a winning start with a straight sets victory over Camila Giorgi.

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It is fair to say it had not been the best of starts for the Brit, who seemed to ride a roller-coaster to start her season off at the Aegon Open in Nottingham. There were no such glitches today, as she handled all the pace that the feisty Italian could through at her, and sent it back, with interest.

Her determination in the first set was rewarded with an early break for an advantage she held on to comfortably, as she took the first set. However, the speed generated by Giorgi made it a little harder for the girl from Guernsey to handle in the second set.

The tone was set with a lengthy battle for Watson to hold, having to fend off four break points, and another couple two games later, but Giorgi could not find the way through. Perhaps that deflated the Italian a little because the next break point was in Watson’s favour, and she did not need any more to put Giorgi under the pump.

While her first serve percentage dropped during the second set, it returned with a vengeance as she belted out a serve to love to pick up her first win in three years.

After her match, she told reporters: “I’m pleased with my performance today, especially from last week. I didn’t play well at all last week. I didn’t feel my game had adapted to the grass yet.

“Today, the opponent I played is a real tricky one. She doesn’t give you any rhythm. She’ll hit a lot of winners, but she’ll make some mistakes as well. So it’s tough.

“I was just really pleased with how positive I was, especially in the second set when I was breakpoints down. I thought those games in the end turned out to be very crucial.”

It has been a frustrating day all round with play delayed for four hours due to intermittent but persistent rain, before a dry spell saw at just three of the five planned main draw matches completed.

With more inclement weather on the cards for Tuesday and a back-log, we can safely say the traditional British grass court season is in full effect, although Watson found ways to amuse herself while waiting.

She said: “It was strange – when the first match was going to be on soon, I didn’t feel like I had a match that day. It felt like I had a lounge-around, hang-out day. It was so odd. I had to put myself in a corner and kind of get focused.

“You’re really used to your time management before a match. You’re going to wake up at this time, breakfast at this time, car at this time, warm up at this time. It was just like I did all that, and then I’m just hanging back, got no idea when I’m playing. It was a bit strange. But I did okay.

“Today I was doing a lot of taking pictures of people sleeping, so I can use them later on when I need them (smiling). I won’t show you. They’ll get so mad. A bit of eating and sleeping a few Snapchat filters.”

Watson will face the winner of the all-Czech encounter between Birmingham runners up from the last two years, Barbora Strycova and Karolina Pliskova.

Play is scheduled to continue at the Aegon Classic at 11am BST.

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