Heather Watson faces Italian tennis player Camila Giorgi in one of the matches of the day in the Aegon Classic on Monday. The players have met twice before on the WTA circuit, with Giorgi winning the first meeting in 2012 and Watson claiming her first win in Indian Wells last year.
As much as it is a third match between the two, it feels like a first in the sense that Heather Watson is a very different opponent to previous years. Just last year, Watson employed Greg Rusedski as a consultant, which realy did elevate Heather Watson’s game, but also opened up greater options she could utilize on a tennis court. Rusedski mainly assisted Heather Watson on her 1st and 2nd serve, allowing Watson to make that shot more of a weapon in some of her toughest matches on the WTA Tour. The transformation to a positive, aggressive Heather Watson has not always come naturally to the British star, as she still is trying to find the right balance between being a positive player and becoming a reckless player.
Heather Watson had always been a relatively conservative player on the WTA Tour. She rarely lost her composure greatly during her matches, but her long time coach Diego Veronelli successfully gave her the options to explore different dimensions to her game. He gave her that permission to put more pace and risk on her groundstrokes, thus creating a very different player to the one that Giorgi had faced in 2012 in Beijing.
When looking at Camila Giorgi’s results coming into this enticing match with Heather Watson, there has not been much change like we have seen from Heather Watson. The flat ball-striker has stayed with her only coach and father Sergio Giorgi. In addition to this she has always liked to play the flatter balls and likes to find the lines of the tennis court. This brand of tennis applied by Giorgi is part of the reason why she has caused many of the top players big problems over the years – including wins over Maria Sharapova in Indian Wells of 2014 and also a win on the grass of Eastbourne against Victoria Azarenka.
There is no question that Giorgi has the talent and game style to beat anyone on her day, but the limitations to her game is that she does not always find her best tennis regularly enough on the tour. Giorgi only has one title to her name on the WTA Tour, which came in Rosmalen against Belinda Bencic – some would argue she has underachieved with the talent that she has at her disposal.
It will be interesting to witness whether Heather Watson continues with her new aproach to the game or whether she retreats into her former game style and tries to anticipate Giorgi’s unforced error count rising.