In a battle of the Brits, the 58th-ranked Heather Watson will be up against countrywoman and 263rd-ranked lucky loser Jodie Burrage in the opening round of the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi. The match will be played on Thursday, January 7, and is likely to begin at around 6 pm local time (2 pm BST or 8 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Heather Watson v Jodie Burrage match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Heather Watson v Jodie Burrage Head to Head
This will be their first ever outing at the highest level but the two had met recently at the Battle of the Brits competition as recently as a fortnight ago and Watson had clinched the match in straight sets.
Watson Coming off a Solid Off-Season
Typically players not ranked very high on the charts do not get too many opportunities to test themselves in exhibition tournaments before the start of the season but the introduction of the Battle of the Brits has changed things around for those in the UK.
Watson, and her opponent in this case, is one of the players to have benefitted, playing four matches in that tournament but what will keep the 58th-ranked player in a good stead is her performance in that competition. She won all her four matches, including the aforementioned one against Burrage to given her a solid base coming into this new season.
What’s interesting to note is that Watson also featured in the second edition of the Battle of the Brits which was held in July and again won all her five matches played there. Unfortunately for the Brit, her performances at the highest level were quite patchy.
In the 10 tournaments she played on the WTA circuit, Watson won the Acapulco Open and was a semifinalist at the Hobart International as a qualifier but post the resumption lost all the five matches she played in.
Burrage Lucky to Go Through
The Brit Burrage was knocked out in the second round of the qualifiers by Frenchwoman Amandine Hesse but still came through on account of being a lucky loser, replacing Fiona Ferro in the main draw.
Burrage, who was ranked 436th at the start of 2019, has slowly climbed up the ladder with an ITF title win that season helping break into the top 300 and reaching a career-best ranking of 233rd in the world.
She fell to 285th by the end of the season but a solid 2020 at the lower circuit has managed to help her gain a few more spots and end the season ranked 263rd.
The 21-year-old had made her main draw debut late last year in Linz but that came in the doubles draw with Burrage and her partner going down in the first round there. Can she do any better on her singles debut?
Watson v Burrage Prediction and Tip
Unsurprisingly Watson is a favourite here with bet365 offerin 1/5 for her win and 3/4 for a straight-set victory. These could be involved in a keener tussle than what was on offer in their only previous meeting, with Watson to win in the end.
Tip: Over 17.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)