Briton Heather Watson has made a winning return to action after beating Alexandra Mueller in three sets to book a place in the second round of the Citi Open in Washington.

Watson, 21, who recently split from Colombian coach Mauricio Hadad and began working with American Chip Brooks, lost the opening set 6-7 but recovered to take the second and third tests 6-4 and 6-3 respectively.

Watson has endured a very difficult year thus far, most notably in April when her ranking plummeted after she was unable to compete for two months due to a debilitating bout of glandular fever.

Her victory over the world number 499 was completed in two hours and 10 minutes and Jeremy Bates, an LTA’s women’s coach who will take over from Cheeks later this year, will have seen plenty of encouraging signs ahead of the US Open in August.

Alize Cornet, who has been seeded fourth for the tournament, awaits Watson in the next round after cruising past Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1 6-3.


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