World number 33 Ekaterina Alexandrova faces off against Britain’s world number 58 Heather Watson in the second round of the 2021 WTA Abu Dhabi on Saturday, January 9. The match begins at around 2:30 pm local time (8:30 am Eastern Time). Get the live streaming options of this Ekaterina Alexandrova v Heather Watson match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Ekaterina Alexandrova v Heather Watson Head to Head
There have been two previous matches played between Alexandrova and Watson and the head to head is tied at 1-1. Interestingly both their matches came on the ITF circuit, with Alexandrova winning the first on clay in 2017 while Watson levelling things up in 2018 on hard court.
Alexandrova Dodges Past Diyas
In a match lasting an hour and 21 minutes, Alexandrova needed a break of serve in each of the two sets to get past Zarina Diyas and seal her second round berth.
Alexandrova, who is ranked 33rd in the world with a career-best of 25th, had no difficulties holding her serve before she managed the first break of serve in the seventh game. And while she finally break-points as she served for the set at 5-4, the Russian held her nerve and came through in the first set.
The second set told a similar story, when both players held on to the serve till the eighth game before Alexandrova got the upper hand. She got herself three break-points in the ninth, and while Diyas saved two of them, the Russian managed to break her off the third before holding serve to complete a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
This comes on the back of a season last year which saw Alexandrova win her fourth WTA title, and third in as many years, and a semifinal appearance in the last tournament she played in 2020 – at Linz.
She wouldn’t be short of confidence facing up to her 58th-ranked opponent.
Turns Out to be Less Than Elementary for Watson
In what turned out to be an exciting Battle of the Brits, Watson needed to overcome a first set deficit to defeat Jodie Burrage in her opening round encounter.
The two had earlier met in an exhibition tournament in Britain recently and Watson had come away an easy winner but the sense always was of an improving Burrage testing out her fellow Brit at the WTA level.
And that is exactly what happened when Watson dropped the first set 4-6, falling two breaks behind by the seventh game of the encounter.
It was the break-back in the eighth game, which might not have helped Watson save the set, but gave her the opening she needed for the rest of the match. While Watson dropped her serve yet again, going down 2-1 as a result, she quickly recovered to break Burrage three times in a row to capture the second set.
In the third, both exchanged a break of serve before Watson staged a miraculous win as she overturned multiple break-points at 5-5 before completing a break of serve in the 12th game of the set.
Alexandrova v Watson Prediction and Tip
Alexandrova gets our vote for the pick of the match with bet365 also offering 2/5 for her victory while Watson is a distant second at 7/4. Could be a straightforward win too, under 20.5 games in it.
Tip: Alexandrova to win AND Under 20.5 games: 8/5 (bet365)