Qualifier Heather Watson continued on her good run, this Wednesday, in Montreal. After defeating another qualifier, Tereza Smitkova, in three sets in the first round, she took a 6-2, 4-0 lead over tenth seed Dominika Cibulkova before the Slovakian started to mount a comeback, forcing a third set and even breaking to start the decider.
In the end, the Brit kept her ground, broke back, took a break advantage and even served for the match. Broken back, the two players finished the match in another tiebreak, in which the Slovakian quickly went 3-0 up, but in the end, it is Watson who prevailed 6-2, 6-7(3), 7-6(5) to reach the Coupe Rogers round-of-16.
BATennis World caught up with Heather Watson after her match, in a very friendly interview.
BATennis World: You had a pretty difficult match, today. It was very up-and-down. How did you manage to come through?
Heather Watson: It was a tough match. I’ve played Dominika before this year and she won very comfortably. She’s having a great year, she’s full of confidence so it’s never going to be easy. But I’ve also had a good year so far and I wanted to take that confidence right into this match. It was up-and-down, and all over the place but I felt that I kind of stayed the same and she was more up-and-down and that I just had to hang in there when she was playing well and try to get advantage when she wasn’t.
BATW: Next match is against Victoria Azarenka. You’ve never beaten her, but last time you met was in 2012, so how are you approaching that match?
HW: I played her twice in 2012 when she was on that winning streak, so it wasn’t really the best timimg. [She laughs] Hopefully it’s a different situation now. I’m a different player, she’s a different player and I look forward to playing that match. I think it will be a really good one.
BATW: Considering that there may be a chance that she got a little injured yesterday, would you approach it differently or would you keep to your strategy?
HW: Did she? That’s news to me. I’ll keep the same strategy and if she’s on the court, I’m sure she’ll be 100%. She’s a great player. She’s been high in the rankings for a long, long time. It won’t be easy, but you know what? It’s another opportunity for me, and as long as I keep winning matches, I’ll keep creating opportunities.
BATW: You’re travelling with your mother. We saw her on the practice courts with you and everything. How much of a comfort is it to have her around?
HW: Actually, my mum hasn’t travelled with me for quite a long time, but I said, “Mum, I need you here this week. I think you’re going to be my good luck charm.” And she has been. [She smiles]
BATW: How is it working with your coach (Argentinian Diego Veronelli) right now? How is it going?
HW: It’s going really really well. We started in December of last year and so far, I feel like I’ve improved so much as a player! Well, he’s had a few heart attacks for the last few days [she laughs] but we’re still in the next round.
BATW: Has he taught you a bit of Spanish already?
HW: [Laughs] Yeah. He has taught me some Spanish. I actually got this app [NDLR: Duolingo] on iTunes to start learning. I did it for, like, a week and then I stopped. So I need to get back on it.
BATW: So when are we going to hear you scream “Dale!”?
HW: I do in practice. [Smiles]
BATW: But not in matches!
HW: [She laughs] I know. I keep more quiet in matches.
Watson will play Azarenka this Thursday, not before 19:00 local time, on the Banque Nationale Court.