The USA’s Dana Mathewson was competing again on the UNIQLO tour for the first time since she made her US Open debut back in September.
Drawn against British player and also good friend Louise Hunt, with the pair so close in the rankings it was always going to be a match that would test both players mentally as well as physically but it was Mathewson who came out on top of this exchange 6-2 6-3.
She said: “I’m really proud of myself for today.
“I haven’t competed since the US Open and I didn’t know what to expect from my tennis but I was happy with my performance today and I guess all those hard sessions in training have really paid off.
“I have such a strong bond with Louise outside of tennis that sometime to have to play her first round especially or to play her at all is really difficult and not just because you’re like oh I don’t want to beat or lose to my best friend there’s just more mental thought processes that go on and tennis is already mental as it is so that makes it harder.”
And on finding out that she was drawn against Hunt in the first round Mathewson laughed as she continued: “I was actually at her house when the draw came out!
“Before the draw her and her mum were joking that you know it’s inevitable, you know we’re going to play each other and then sure enough of all the people that had matches today it was us.”
The result means she will progress through to the quarter-finals of the women’s singles draw where Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock will be waiting at the other side of the net.
The first set was straightforward for Mathewson and she took it without having to enter into too many rallies.
But in the second set Hunt began to step up her game, playing some great shots and really forcing Mathewson to play some longer points.
At three all it looked as momentum was going to stay with Hunt and she was going to force a deciding set.
However Mathewson took it up another gear, going on a three game run and closing out the second set and the match.
She said: “I just had to think stay aggressive, stay aggressive cause I know that she’s got really good movement, she’s got long arms so you can’t really beat Louise with a lot of high balls and so I had to really make her play.
“She was stepping up so I had to step up too.”
She’ll now go on to play the number two seed in the competition Ellerbrock, a player who she last went head-to-head with at the start of the year out in Australia.
She said: “I mean I’m not any more nervous than I would be for anyone else.
“She’s a tough player, she’s really consistent and she loves a slice and she’s going to make me move around.
“We had a good three set match in Australia, and I think I’ve improved since then as a player so I’m hoping to see some improvement tomorrow.”
Ellerbrock has the advantage in their exchanges so far leading 3-1 in the head-to-heads so it will be a tough quarter-final.
But having seen how her game has improved over the last 12 months it is a match that on a good day is winnable for Mathewson.
Famin sets up a quarter-final meeting with the top seed
The only other women’s singles match to be contested today was between France’s Charlotte Famin and Britain’s Lauren Jones.
Going into this match the pair had only met once before at the Sion Indoor Main draw just a few weeks ago, where the World number 10 from France came out on top in straight sets 6-1 6-3.
And in their second meeting today we saw the same result with Famin defeating Jones in straight sets only this time 6-3 6-1.
Jones started confidently and strong but as soon Famin found her game early in the first set you could see the how the French tour-de-force has broken into the top ten in the women’s game.
Famin will now go on to play top seed and defending champion here in Bath, Diede De Groot in the quarter-finals.