NÜRNBERG, GERMANY – Heather Watson will be looking to arrest a long losing streak, since January, and against her first round opponent Kateryna Bondarenko, when they face each other in Nürnberg.
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Heather Watson v Kateryna Bondarenko | H2H: Bondarenko leads 2-0
It has been a tough time for the current British No. 2 Heather Watson but she faces another tough match up as she searches for her first match win since losing the semi-final in Hobart at the start of the year. She has now lost eight matches in the bounce and is in much need of some confidence as she heads into Roland Garros. She will face Kateryna Bondarenko in her Nürnberg opener.
The pair have a handful of places between them in the rankings with the Ukrainian just ahead inside the Top 80, and has no main draw, back to back wins to her name since teaching the third round of the Australian Open, she has had some solid runs through the qualifying rounds in Doha, and she reached the final of the lower tier tournament in Indian Wells ($125K level) but went out in the first round of qualifying for the Premier Mandatory tour.
Confidence can make all the difference, especially for a player like Watson, who has worked to have more pep on her serve to be able to compete better against more powerful servers on the circuit, but she is also blessed with a natural defender’s ability and we have seen her able to mix up her game when necessary.
Neither have had much time on the dirt this year, certainly nothing to write home about in win/lose stats over the past year, but perhaps the edge has to go to the Ukrainian simply because she has been able to put together some wins even if it has been in qualifying rounds, or at the lower levels of the tour.
It is the wins that bring the confidence, and more importantly the match-play. Bondarenko has at least played more on the dirt in Europe, having picked up a win in Istanbul, whereas Watson has only played in Prague since the tour left the green-grey clay of Charleston and switched to the crushed red-brick of Europe.
Watson has lost some tough fights, she has also capitulated quite simply in her latest matches. It is a tough one to call, but without the benefit of some wins under her belt it will be a tough ask for Watson to pick up that momentum going into Paris.
Prediction: Bondarenko in three sets.
Watson and Bondarenko are scheduled on Centre Court at 11am (10am BST).
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