WTA Birmingham first round preview: Camila Giorgi vs Heather Watson

An interesting matchup will happen on the first day of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Heather Watson will take on the always tough, Camila Giorgi. Watson will have home advantage, but after her first round loss in Nottingham, the Brit revealed she had been struggling with an abdominal tear after the French Open. As for Giorgi, her results this year have not been as good and now is ready to play her first grass tournament of the season.

2016 Results

Just a few days ago, Watson was named part of the Great Britain Olympic team. It has been a year full of ups and downs for the Brit; she lost in her opening match in Australia and lost in the second round of the French Open. However, she won her third WTA title at Monterrey, but after that, she has had early exits at tournaments, including a disappointing first round loss in Nottingham last week. This year she wants to pass her first round match at Birmingham, especially after losing last year in the first round against Aleksandra Krunic.

Last year, Camila Giorgi conquered her first WTA title on grass at the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships, where she defeated Belinda Bencic in straight sets. The Italian started her year with a first round one loss against Angelique Kerber. She also had a tough opponent at the Australian, losing her opening match to Serena Williams. She reached the final at Katowice but was defeated by Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets. At the French Open, she was not able to get pass eventual semifinalist Kiki Bertens in the second round. This will be her first tournament on grass of the year.

Heather Watson in action during her match against Magdalena Rybarikova at the WTA Aegon Open. (Photo by Jon Buckle/Getty Images for LTA)
Heather Watson in action during her match against Magdalena Rybarikova at the WTA Aegon Open. (Photo by Jon Buckle/Getty Images for LTA)

Complicated Draw

The winner of this match has a tough draw ahead of them as in the next round they could potentially face the recent Nottingham winner Karolina Pliskova or the always-dangerous Barbora Strycova. In the quarterfinals, they could meet their first top 10 players, Belinda Bencic. The road only gets tougher as in the semifinal,  Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, recent Ricoh Open champion, CoCo Vandeweghe or Johanna Konta could be waiting. Angelique Kerber, Lucie Safarova or Petra Kvitova could be their opponents in the final.

Head-to-Head

This will be the third meeting between then, the series is one win each. The last time they played was last year at Indian Wells where the Brit prevailed in straight sets. Giorgi's victory dates back to 2012 at Beijing in a qualifying round, where the Italian won in three sets.

Match Analysis

It’s no secret that Giorgi is a powerful and dangerous player, especially for top 10 players. However, the Italian has a big flaw and that is consistency as she often plays outstanding matches against high-ranked players, but most of the times she loses against players below her. As for Watson, she is a complete player with great footwork but often lacks mental strength a clear example of this was last year at Wimbledon when she had two match points against Serena Williams but couldn’t convert.

Camila Giorgi returns a shot in her match against Caroline Wozniacki at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Camila Giorgi returns a shot in her match against Caroline Wozniacki at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

The Italian hits the ball aggressively, mostly aiming for the lines and when she is at a rally she hits to the sidelines to move her opponent and change the rhythm of the match. This could be a tricky thing for the Brit, but she could resolve this with her footwork and variety of shots she possesses. Both players have a strong serve, however, Giorgi tends to hit two first serves and that results in many double faults which is why the Italian is one of the players with most double faults. Another factor to consider is that the crowd will be behind the Brit although if that upsets the Italian, she will not show it as she rarely shows emotions on court.

This will be an interesting match and without a doubt, it will be entertaining to watch if both players play their best. We all will enjoy seeing Giorgi hit powerful groundstrokes and Watson replying with a volley or a backhand slice. It’s tough to call a winner when both players are so different, as Giorgi is a better player when it comes to offensive game and has shown she enjoys to play on grass. However, she is too inconsistent and has been struggling with injuries this year that forced her to retire from Strasbourg (lower back injury) and Madrid (mid-back injury). As for Watson, she claimed recently she had been dealing with an abdominal injury since the French Open.

Prediction: Camila Giorgi in three sets.

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