Victoria Azarenka looking forward to facing 'fighter' Heather Watson

British teenager Heather Watson
British teenager Heather Watson

World number one Victoria Azarenka described British teenager Heather Watson as "a great player" after they were drawn together in the third round of the Miami Masters.

Watson, from Guernsey, pulled off a superb 6-2 6-1 victory over world number 25 Lucie Safarova on Friday.

Azarenka only dropped one game while comfortably beating the 19-year-old at the Australian Open in January.

Azarenka said: "She has a lot of potential and has big character."

The wild card entrant has impressed in Miami after overcoming an ankle injury that hampered her start to the season.

Watson had previously battled her way back from 5-0 down in the deciding set of her first-round victory against Sorana Cirstea in sweltering heat.

The teenager now faces a massive task against Azarenka who has gone unbeaten in her first 24 matches of 2012.

But the Belarusian insists her previous win over Watson in Melbourne is irrelevant. She added: "She's definitely a fighter. I think she's a great player and I really like her as a person - she's always smiling, she's like a little sunshine every time I see her.

"I don't really take too much from previous matches, because every time you play somebody again it's a new story.

"I'm sure she's going to be motivated and will try to come up with her best tennis. I look forward to it."

Azarenka also won their only other competitive meeting, taking less than an hour to clinch a 6-1 6-1 victory at Eastbourne in 2010.