BNP Paribas Open: Heather Watson secures place in main draw
Last Updated: 07/03/14 9:42pm
Heather Watson: Made light work of Teliana Pereira in qualifying
Heather Watson is safely through to the first round at Indian Wells following a straight-sets victory over Brazilian Teliana Pereira.
The British No 3 made light work of Pereira, who toppled Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva in the first round of qualifying, 6-2 6-2.
It was another encouraging sign in what has been an impressive start to the year for the 21-year-old, who appears to have put her glandular-fever fuelled struggles of 2013 well and truly behind her.
After qualifying at the Australian Open in January, Watson won a tournament in Midland, Michigan, one of the biggest on the second tier ITF circuit.
On the up
Illness forced her to withdraw midway through her first qualifying match in Acapulco last week but that proved just a temporary setback.
Watson's qualifying wins have been her first at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and she is the only Brit in the ladies' main draw, where she will face an intriguing clash with 16-year-old Belinda Bencic.
The Swiss, who is coached by Martina Hingis' mother Melanie Molitor, is arguably the most exciting young talent in the women's game and is already ranked 146th.
The winner of the clash will meet second seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
British No 3 James Ward won his opening qualifying match as the men's tournament got under way.
Ward dropped just seven points in the first set against Greek Theodoros Angelinos but had to come from 5-2 down in the second on his way to a 6-0 7-6 (7/4) victory.
It was the 27-year-old's first win at Indian Wells but fellow Briton Dan Cox, a late entrant into the qualifying draw, was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Slovakia's Andrej Martin.
And there was further disappointment as Johanna Konta lost 6-4 6-3 to Australia Casey Dellacqua.
It was a tough draw for Konta against a player who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open this year.