Watson, a promising young Brit who went as high as No.39 in the world last February, struggled with illness throughout 2013 and finished the year down at No.119. But she has been showing a lot of promise once again this year, grinding it out on the ITF Women's Circuit and through WTA qualies, including right here - she didn't drop a set in qualies, and she won her first round match in straights.
But the No.2-seeded Radwanska was just too solid against Watson when it mattered most. The two were neck-and-neck through most of the first set but from 4-all Radwanska won four straight games to build a 64 20 lead, and she never looked back. She closed it out in an hour and 24 minutes, 64 63.
"I'm just very happy I could play quite well today and win in two sets," Radwanska said. "Today was very windy and we were both struggling with the serve, so I'm happy I could make it through today."
Watson was both impressed with Radwanska's play during the match and inspired by her own.
"I felt she played better at the right times today," Watson said afterwards. "But I was right there with her. It was a lot different compared to the other times I played her. I felt I was right in there and had my chances, even though I didn't feel like I played that well. It was actually quite windy on the center court, and it was blowing one way, and I struggled with my serve a bit. But I still feel like I could have come through and won that first set. I shouldn't have given away that many free points there.
"But I'm a lot more positive about this time than the last few times I played her."
And on her resurgence the last few months? "Yeah, good start to the season," she said. "I'm enjoying 2014 a lot more than 2013, that's for sure. All I can do is go up in the rankings, make points, do well. And I feel like I'm just improving as every match goes along since the beginning of the year.
"I'll go back to Florida tomorrow and get some good training in before Miami starts."
No.9 seed Sara Errani, No.14 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, No.18 seed Eugenie Bouchard, No.22 seed Alizé Cornet, No.26 seed Lucie Safarova and No.31 seed Magdalena Rybarikova won early matches too. The only early upset saw Varvara Lepchenko beat No.29 seed Daniela Hantuchova, 63 62.