|French Open 2014|
|Heather Watson||vs||Barbora Zahlavova Strycova|
ScheduleMonday, 26 May 2014 at 09:00 GMT / 10:00 UK / 14:30 IST
Heather Watson is the only British female player who reached the main draw of Roland Garros, since Laura Robson is unfortunately out with a wrist injury. Laura has already scheduled a surgery, and it is expected that she will be return to the tennis courts of the world after Wimbledon.
Watson, currently 92nd on the WTA rankings, made it to the main draw by going through the qualifiers. She played against top 200 opponents Falconi, Kozlova and Kontaveit, and it was expected for her to make it through, as a much higher ranked player. The Brit is currently in a great form, perhaps even the peak form of her life if we’re exclusively considering matches on clay – she won 10 out of 11 matches on that surface this season, losing only once, to Kiki Bertens. Although during that streak she hasn’t played against any higher ranked players, it is expected that she nevertheless gained huge amounts of confidence, which will be of great aid to her in her next clash.
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova is currently 63rd in the world, higher ranked than Watson by almost 30 places, but she is entering this tournament after 3 defeats in a row, so she is probably not in the same place mentally as the confident Brit. Additionally, she lost 6 out of 11 matches on clay this season.
The draw hasn’t been kind to these two players, because the winner of this match will most likely play 4th seeded Simona Halep in the second round, and, of course, both Watson and Zahlavova Strycova will have a slim chance of winning that match.
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova is leading 1:0 in matches they’ve played against each other. Their only encounter happened last year in qualifiers for Tokyo, on hard court, and Zahlavova Strycova won that match in a straightforward manner – 6:3, 6:3.
Both of these players are right handed, and predominantly attack-minded, so this match is likely to be interesting and exciting. It seems that Watson is in the better form at the moment, and that she could prevail in this match. Zahlavova played with some higher ranked players this year, and she was easily beaten every time by Bouchard, Suarez-Navaro, Kuznetsova and Azarenka, but she managed to get a set from Venus Williams and Alize Cornet. Watson also lost to Radwanska, Hantuchova and Cibulkova, but she put up a better fight than Zahlavova Strycova. Additionally, Watson built up her confidence by beating lower ranked opponents in the ITF level, and she should have an advantage in this match. Having all of this in mind, we predict that Watson will win in the tight clash.