Heather Watson once again proved her skills were up to snuff when playing at the Miami Open. For the second time this tournament, the Brit was on top each time leading to her 6-3, 6-0 win over Sloane Stephens of the United States on Stadium one at Crandon Park Tennis Center
The rivalry between the two up and coming stars has been going on for the last six years with Watson having the series edge but none in recent years to defeat the American. Stephens took a pair of wins last season defeating the Brit at the French Open and at Eastbourne. She’ll try to get a third win while trying to best her quarterfinals appearance at the tournament last year.
Watson had a dominating performance in her opening round against a lower ranked opponent but knew that going against Stephens would be a huge task to overcome. With her ability to control things in the opening set, the same would have to occur once more to even come close to reaching her personal best of making the third round.
The challenge was alive and well from Stephen’s end as she conducted herself well in the first game. Watson took the very next sending the two into a battle for each game thereafter. After six were in the books, the Brit gained leverage on court attacking the key points of the American’s game to bring her down. Watson cleared the way to winning the next three to lock down the set win swiftly. Her path to victory was due to her opponents 17 unforced errors that ended the set in 39 minutes.
Watson continued to sit on a four game winning streak winning to start the second set. She went to a 3-0 hold in the set as Stephens showed plenty of frustration calling for her coach to get some advice before it was too late. It didn’t help as Watson moved up 5-0 looking for her second consecutive bagel to end the match.
She got it ending the sixth game on a return falling wide of the court that stunned some but erupted in cheers for the young Brit. “I thought I played very well,” Watson told Andrew Krasny during her on court interview. “I started off shaky in the first few games but when I started to feel comfortable I felt great and I knew I had to play great to beat Sloane because she’s a great player.”
It took her one hour and two minutes to come up with the match win sending her to the third round where she’ll face Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium. “I haven’t played her in a long time,” Watson said about her next opponent. “I’m a very different player now so it should be an exciting match.”