BNP Paribas Open: Heather Watson sets up showdown with Agnieszka Radwanska
Last Updated: 07/03/14 9:41pm
Heather Watson is looking forward to having another crack at Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The British No 3, who came through qualifying, set up a showdown with Radwanska in California following a 7-5 6-4 victory over 16-year-old Belinda Bencic.
Watson has played second seed Radwanska twice before, at Wimbledon in 2012 and the Australian Open last year, and was well beaten on both occasions.
But the 21-year-old is in a very positive frame of mind after her good start to this season and is confident she can give Radwanska, who celebrates her 25th birthday on Wednesday, a much tougher test when they meet again.
Watson said: "I'm so pleased with how I'm playing at the moment. This will be a bit of a different atmosphere but I'm really looking forward to playing her again.
"I'm not going to give away my tactics but I'm not going to go in playing the same way I did the other two times, I'm going to try something new and just go out there and fight."
Swiss Bencic, who is coached by Martina Hingis' mother Melanie Molitor, has been causing a buzz in women's tennis for a while and is already ranked 146th in the world.
She qualified and then reached the second round at the Australian Open, pushing eventual champion Li Na to a tie-break in the second set.
It was therefore a decidedly tricky test for Watson, who had never won a match at Indian Wells Tennis Garden prior to her first-round qualifying victory on Monday.
Watson moved into a 4-1 lead, helped by her opponent's woeful first-serve percentage, but Bencic fought back to level.
Watson stood firm, though, and took her first set point when Bencic served a double fault.
She quickly surged into a 4-1 lead in the second set and had a point for 5-1 only for Bencic to repeat her first-set efforts and level proceedings.
But Watson piled on the pressure with the teenager serving to stay in the match and fortune smiled on the British player on her third match point when the ball clipped off the top of the net for a winner.
Watson is still down at 134 in the rankings as a result of her struggles last season but this was her 15th win in 2014, only one fewer than she managed in the whole of 2013.
The Guernsey player said: "It was a really up-and-down match. I started both sets very well but she plays very well from behind, loosens up. I got through today, I did what I had to do, I fought, I played the big points well.
"Two days ago was my first ever win at Indian Wells and this is my third this year and in my life so it's pretty exciting. I'm just looking forward to my next round now."
Sharon Fichman caused a minor upset as she ousted Shahar Peer 4-6 6-3 6-4, while Casey Dellacqua, who beat Johanna Konta in qualifying, beat Christina Mchale 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.
Kurumi Nara was a convincing 6-4 6-0 winner over Alexandra Kiick, while Varvara Lepchenko was too strong for Alison Van Uytvanck as she raced to a 6-2 6-2 victory.