Shhhh ... Here She Comes
Young Briton Heather Watson brings an impressive run of form into the ASB Classic quarterfinals.
The first thing you need to get straight about Heather Watson is, although she officially represents Britain and speaks with an English accent, she’s definitely not a Pom!
She’s a proud “Guern”, hailing from the tiny island of Guernsey in the English Channel.
And while she’s played more tennis than anyone else this week, Watson (18) has still not been seen on centre court and has flown largely under the radar to land unheralded in the ASB Classic quarterfinals.
After surviving three preliminary rounds of singles, she took advantage of a fluky draw that pitted her against another qualifier – Thai Noppawan Lertcheewakarn - in the main draw’s opening round. Yesterday, she contributed to the avalanche of seeds by picking off Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets.
This is now the furthest she has progressed in a WTA event and Watson, currently ranked 176, is clearly chuffed!
“I’m playing really well in this tournament so far, and getting better and better,” she had beamed after the first round. “I just want to keep it going.”
She did that and more against world number 57 Suarez Navarro.
“It was a very different style of play today,” Watson reflected. “She plays a spinning ball like a lot of Spanish players, it was really windy from one side of the court and so sunny, at times I was serving blind.”
She has been hailed as a future star in Britain and youngsters often find that expectation difficult to meet. But Watson seems relentlessly cheerful and unaffected by it all.
“The only pressure I feel is what I put on myself,” she says. “I used to get really nervous before matches, but I worked on it. Now, if I win or lose, it’s no biggy.”
As the seeds tumbled yesterday, the bottom half of the KIA Motors Singles draws really opened up and Watson suddenly looms as a real dark-horse contender if she can get past Chinese Shuai Peng today.
To unwind on the eve of the biggest match of her career, she planned to dine at her favourite local Japanese restaurant and maybe check out the Disney Channel on TV.