WTA Miami: Heather Watson Into The Next Round After Straight Sets Victory Against Sloane Stephens

Heather Watson is a wildcard at the tournament in Miami. The Brit picked up an impressive win in the first round as she defeated Petra Cetkovska in straight sets. Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens had a bye into the second round. Both Watson and Stephens had been in good form coming into the match today, with three wins in their last four matches.

Watson and Stephens have faced each other on two previous occasions, the most recent of which came in Hobart last year. Watson won both of these matches, giving her the edge in the head to head. Stephens would have been wanting to get a victory over Watson in their match today, however once again the British player found a way to defeat her.

Stephens Lets Lead Slip

Watson served first in the match and quashed any early nerves by winning the game. Stephens then stepped up to the service line and held her serve with relative ease. The first break point opportunity came in the third game of the opening set where  Watson was a point away from winning the game but despite this, she got broken as Stephens capitalized on her first break point of the match, which put her in a strong position in the match.

Stephens consolidated the break as she won her service game on the third time of asking. Watson soon found herself back level in the set, after she broke her American opponent in the sixth game. The British player raced to a 40-0 lead in the set and found herself with three break point opportunities. Stephens managed to prevent Watson from taking one of the break points, however, she could do nothing to stop Watson from utilizing her second chance to win the game.

This break of serve turned the match in the direction of the British number two. Watson looked comfortable as she held her serve with ease to back up the break. The wildcard then broke Stephens's serve once again, this time around she only needed one opportunity to break and take the game.

Watson was 5-3 up and just had to hold her serve to win the first set. The Brit did not let the pressure of this get to her, and she raced to a 40-0 lead in the game. Stephens prevented Watson from taking the first set point, but it was too little to late for the American and Watson took her second set point.

Sloane Stephens Was Visibly Frustrated During The Match. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Sloane Stephens was visibly frustrated during the match. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Watson Races Through The Second Set

After the first set, all the momentum was with Watson. Stephens would have been wanting to start the set off positively, but unfortunately for the American, her downward spiral since midway through the first set continued. Stephens lost her opening service game in the set, after some strong play from Watson. This put the American a set and a break down and would have dampened her hopes of a comeback.

The remaining games of the set all went to Watson, thanks to some very poor play from Stephens, who looked like she did not want to play. Even an on court coaching session did nothing to help Stephens, as Watson capitalized on her opponents poor play, with some good shot placement. At one stage, Watson won sixteen points in a row, which consisted of her winning three games to love. Two of the games the British player won to love came whilst Stephens was serving.

Watson raced to a 5-0 lead and had the opportunity to serve for the match. The Brit did not faulter whilst serving the match out, as she took her first match point opportunity. In 23 minutes, Watson had won the second set to take the match 6-3, 6-0 in just over an hour. As a result of winning this match, Watson progresses into the third round, where she will face Yanina Wickmayer.

Heather Watson Mid Rally. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Heather Watson mid rally. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images