No.7 seed Heather Watson has yet to drop a set to qualifier Leylah Fernandez in two previous meetings, having defeated the Canadian 6-4, 7-5 in the second round of Québec City 2018 (a then 16-year-old Fernandez's WTA main draw debut, and the site of her only WTA main draw win prior to this week) and 7-6(4), 6-2 in the semifinals of last August's Vancouver ITF W100.
17-year-old Fernandez is the youngest player to reach the Acapulco final in the tournament's history and third teenager to reach a WTA final in 2020 (following 19-year-olds Dayana Yastremska in Adelaide and Leonie Kung in Hua Hin). The reigning Roland Garros girls' champion is the youngest WTA finalist since Coco Gauff won the Linz trophy last October.
Watson is aiming to lift her fourth career title and second in Mexico, having previously been the champion at Osaka 2012, Hobart 2015 and Monterrey 2016. The Briton holds a 3-1 record in WTA finals, with her only loss coming to Rebecca Peterson in Tianjin last October. Fernandez is playing her maiden WTA final; she holds a 1-2 record in ITF finals and a 1-1 record in junior Grand Slam finals.
World No.190 Fernandez is the second player ranked outside the Top 100 (and second qualifier) to reach a WTA final this season (following World No.283 Kung in Hua Hin) and with a victory today would be the lowest-ranked titlist since World No.299 Margarita Gasparyan won Tashkent 2018. The last qualifier to win a WTA trophy was Magda Linette at The Bronx last year.
Watson has quietly enjoyed a career resurgence over the past seven months. The World No.69 has reached the semifinals or better at five of her last 10 tournaments: an ITF W100 title in Vancouver last August, a semifinal at the New Haven 125K in September, a final run in Tianjin in October, a semifinal showing in Hobart last month and now at least a final this week. Having begun 2019 with a 1-8 record in WTA main draws through July, Watson is now 12-3 at that level since then.
Prior to 2020, Fernandez had not won a set in five meetings against Top 100 opposition. The teenager smashed through that milestone in style three weeks ago in scoring her first Top 5 win over Belinda Bencic in Fed Cup Qualifier action, and this week has added three further Top 100 scalps in Nina Stojanovic, Nao Hibino and Anastasia Potapova.
Fernandez has yet to drop a set in six matches so far this week (including qualifying), and has conceded an average of just 5.3 games per match. The only player to take more than three games in a set from her was Anastasia Potapova in the quarterfinals, who fell 6-3, 7-5. Watson, by contrast, has been taken to three sets twice - by CoCo Vandeweghe in the first round and Christina McHale in the quarterfinals - and was taken to one tiebreak in both of her straight-sets wins, over Kateryna Bondarenko and Wang Xiyu.
In doubles, Kateryna Bondarenko is bidding for her first WTA title since returning from a second maternity leave last September alongside Sharon Fichman, while Giuliana Olmos - who became the first Mexican to reach a WTA final when she was the Monterrey doubles runner-up in 2018, and the first to win a WTA title when she lifted the Nottingham 2019 doubles trophy - is seeking to become the first home WTA winner in tournament history alongside the same partner for both previous milestones, Desirae Krawczyk.
ORDER OF PLAY
ESTADIO (starts 6pm)
[Q] Leylah FERNANDEZ (CAN) vs  Heather WATSON (GBR)
GRANDSTAND (starts 5pm)
Kateryna BONDARENKO (UKR) / Sharon FICHMAN (CAN) vs  Desirae KRAWCZYK (USA) / Giuliana OLMOS (MEX)