WTA Montreal, 3rd Round Preview Part 1: Victoria Azarenka v Heather Watson

Much of the talk on Wednesday was in relation to Eugenie Bouchard’s bizarre 6-0 2-6 6-0 loss to Shelby Rogers.  Many of the Genie-haters came out to play after the loss.  Where I agree with the exhausting hype, Genie has rightfully earnt it with her showings at the Grand Slams this year.  I feel we are so reactive (i’ve done it as well) in judging players’s results.  After Wimbledon, people were singing her praises, but now she’s back to being overhyped and overrated after ONE loss.  It was unfortunate for Genie that this result came in Canada and it did seem that the pressure, on this occasion, got to her. I have no doubt she’ll bounce back.  There are so many great WTA matches, this will be the first of two previews for 3rd round matches.

1. Victoria Azarenka v Heather Watson (Montreal, R3)

Azarenka

Tuesday had it all.  Genie’s exit, power outages that affected the tournament throughout the whole day and a dramatic final match between Victoria Azarenka and Alize Cornet.  Azarenka defeated Cornet in three sets, 6-4 2-6 6-4.  It was the third consecutive match they have played that has gone the distance.  I didn’t watch the match, but enjoyed reading back all the hilarious comments on Twitter.  Vika appeared to injure her ankle, which then resulted in a MTO for her knee, naturally.  There seemed to be some debate as to the severity of the injury.

Azarenka will take on Heather Watson after the Brit came through an absolute rollercoaster of a match with Dominika Cibulkova.  Watson led 6-2 4-0 and even had a break point for 5-0; however Cibulkova rallied to win the next five games.  Watson secured a pair of plucky holds, but Cibulkova dominated the second set tiebreak.  Once again, Heather ran out into a lead in the decider; she served for the match at *5-3 and had a couple of match points at 5-4.  Keeping up? The match went to a third set tiebreak where Cibulkova had a mini-break, but Heather came back to secure one of the best wins of her career.  If the Brit had lost this match, it would have been a heartbreaker.  Cibulkova showed some fight during this match, but I feel she has regressed somewhat after a stunning start to the year.

Azarenka and Watson have played on three occasions.  Heather hasn’t won more than two games in any of the six sets they have played.  This will be Heather’s best shot to win more than two games or even a set.  I’ve got no idea what’s going on with Vika.  I’d take a fit Vika over Heather every day, but if she’s struggling, there could be chances for Heather.

Prediction: Azarenka d. Watson in 2 tight sets (but don’t be surprised if Vika limps out and retires)

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