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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Heather Miriam Watson (born 19 May 1992) is a British female tennis player. Born in Guernsey, she trains and lives at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, USA. Watson has won one major title at the 2009 US Open Juniors, two senior ITF titles and won gold at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games. She has been as high as no. 3 in the world on the ITF Junior Circuit. Watson is rated as the British senior women's number 3, behind Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong, and is ranked at 116 in the world.

Playing style

Watson is right-handed and plays with a two-handed backhand. Her game is often likened to Martina Hingis and she has been praised by Nick Bollettieri for her "Amazing footwork". Moreover her great on-court intelligence, court sense and stellar timing have been other talking points about her game. According to Nigel Sears, head of women's coaching at the Lawn Tennis Association, Watson possesses "a complete game", with a massive amount of variety including the consistent use of a one-handed backhand slice, volleys and angles. Others, including Watson herself, have also identified her game as similar to ATP player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga due to her "Big serve" and "Tremendous athleticism".
Upon Watson reaching the 2011 French Open second round, Andy Murray commented "When I saw her for the first time, I thought she was good. I like the way she moves on the court. She's very balanced". Bollettieri stated that Watson's "game is based on great movement, but she's not afraid to whack the ball. She's not easy to beat. She has very good ground strokes, though she can over-hit and strike the ball a little too flat at times".

Watson successfully qualified for the 2011 French Open. She beat Ioana Raluca Olaru and Sally Peers in the first and second rounds respectively to reach the final round, where she defeated Stefanie Vögele to gain a place in the main draw for the first time. This was the first time a British woman had qualified for the French Open since Kate Brasher, the daughter of Shirley Bloomer and Chris Brasher, in 1983. She played French wildcard Stéphanie Foretz Gacon in the first round and won. By winning this match, Watson became the first British woman since Clare Wood in 1994, to reach the second round of the French Open. The victory saw her break into the top 100 for the first time. She lost to 16th seed Kaia Kanepi in the second round.
Watson continued her good form entering the grass court season when she beat 15th seed Chanelle Scheepers in the first round of the 2011 AEGON Classic. She followed this up by beating Misaki Doi in the second round. However, she lost to third seed and eventual semifinalist Peng Shuai in the third round.
On June 22, 2011, Watson played Mathilde Johansson in her first round match in the Wimbledon Championships, winning the opening set before suffering an arm injury in the second set. Johansson then went on to win in three sets. On 25 June 2011, Heather and her mixed doubles partner Ross Hutchins beat Marcelo Melo and Rennae Stubbs in the mixed doubles.
On August 29, 2011, in the first round of the US Open, Watson lost 6–3, 5–7, 3–6 to former champion Maria Sharapova. After the match, Sharapova stated "There's no doubt that she's a great up-and-coming player".

Watson was selected for the GB Federation Cup Team to play in the Europe/Africa Group 1 match at Eilat, Israel on 1–4 Feb 2012. In the group stages she played doubles with Laura Robson, defeating pairs from Portugal and The Netherlands and Israel in the group stages. Robson and Watson were not required to play their doubles in the play-off match against Austria as Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha won their singles rubbers, and the 2–0 lead qualified the team for a place in the World Group II promotion play-off in April 2012.

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