2018 could only go down as an annus horribilis of a season for Britain’s Heather Watson. 2019 mirrors the previous season in large chunks. That said, the Guernsey footwork-based point builder saved her best until last. Watson fell at the final hurdle against Rebecca Peterson in Tianjin in October, just failing to add to her 3 WTA titles.
Melbourne Disappointment Shows 2018’s Season Still Haunted Heather Watson in 2019
Watson won only three games when receiving a demolition from Petra Martic in the Australian Open first round. Unfortunately, Watson’s grind and energy of old did not show any signs of returning. Watson next appeared in Budapest. She could not cope with the accuracy of the up-and-coming Anastasia Potapova, losing in three sets. Watson went away, did some soul searching, and knew that a run of matches was required. Recourse to ITF/Challenger level helps build that confidence again. Heather Miriam Watson needed to get back into the winning habit.
Challenger Titles Sharpen Watson up for WTA Level
The move down from the WTA level has allowed Watson to re-group. Therefore, two titles in strong fields in Fukuoka and Vancouver gave Watson the impetus needed to make the journey back to WTA main draw level. Watson achieved a moral victory for herself in the Fukuoka final beating Kazakhstani Zarina Diyas. Had Watson been selected for Fed Cup action she would have played Diyas. It was a gentle reminder that she should not be forgotten about regarding representing Britain.
Tianjin Final Appearance Glosses over Disappointing Season for Heather Watson
Prior to victories over consistent opponents like Wang Qiang and Magda Linette, the Briton had only one WTA main draw victory to her name in 2019. Whilst Tianjin topped off two ITF titles nicely, Watson needs to maintain consistency in WTA events. This is especially if she is to become a serious medal contender at the Tokyo Olympics.
Her other main draw win came at the All England Club. Even in one of her better performances, defeating the prodigious Caty McNally in the 1st round at Wimbledon, misfortune lingers. A badly timed serve bounces in the Brit’s own half of the court at a pivotal moment, nearly marring a gutsy three set victory.
Olympic 2020 Goal Requires Swift Rankings Climb
In order to make it a hat-trick of Olympic singles appearances following on from participation in London and Rio, Watson needs to improve on her ranking, which currently sits at World #102. It’s important that she keeps the confidence from Tianjin warm during the off-season.
By winning a medal at the 2020 Olympics, the Guernsey grinder could gain just desserts for a great Federation Cup record for Britain. However, injury and a form dip caused her to miss this season’s World Group heroics this season. Off-court, Heather Watson continues be an ambassador for Britain. In a recent visit to the scene of the Grenfell tragedy documented in the Metro, Watson displayed humility and gained perspective.