Section: WTA Hobart International

Tennis: Watson storms to Hobart title

Heather Watson has become the first British woman since Anne Hobbs in 1985 to win two WTA Tour titles after she beat Madison Brengle 6-3 6-4 in the Hobart International final.

Watson, who won her maiden title in Japan a little more than two years ago, recovered from 3-1 down in the first set against the American qualifier to complete an ideal week of preparation for the Australian Open, which gets under way on Monday.

The result means Watson is up to a career-high world No.38.

“Thanks to my coach Diego, its been great working with you,” she said afterwards. “We work really hard but we also have fun.”

Watson now heads to Melbourne for the year’s first grand slam, where she will play Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova on Tuesday.

Watson will be Britain’s only female representative in Melbourne – and there was mixed news from men’s qualifying as Kyle Edmund made his grand slam in dramatic fashion, while Liam Broady fell at the final hurdle.


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Tennis: Watson beats Riske and rain to reach Hobart final

Heather Watson is one win away from her second WTA title after reaching the final at the Hobart International with a straight-sets victory over Alison Riske.

The British No.1 and Riske, who at No.42 is ranked seven places above Watson in the world standings, were forced off the court at Domain Tennis Centre in Tasmania six times due to rain – including once at match point.

But Watson eventually prevailed 6-3 7-5 to advance to the final, where she will play another American, Madison Brengle, who beat Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-4 1-6 6-3.

“I’m very happy to finally get through today,” Watson told reporters. “It was tough.

“It’s definitely not great conditions to play tennis and it was never going to be a very pretty match. The goal for Alison and me today was just to get the ball in and not go for free points.”

Watson recovered from 3-1 down in the opening set to win the next five games and also came back from the same deficit in the second.

Then, leading 5-4, Watson let her first two match points slip but had just set up a third when heavy rain forced the players off once again.

The delay lasted an hour and it was hardly surprising that Watson served a double fault when play eventually resumed. She followed that by losing the next two points and her serve.

But the 22-year-old promptly broke Riske’s serve to lead 6-5 and this time served out for a place in Saturday’s final against former leading junior Brengle, who is up to a career-high world No.84.

Asked about the rain delay at match point, Watson added: “I obviously wanted to play but the point before I had slipped myself, so it was the right thing to do.”

Watson will be looking to add to her first WTA victory, which she picked up in Japan two years ago.

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Hobart International: In-form Watson through to Hobart quarter-finals

Heather Watson continued her recent spell of good form with a straight sets victory against Sloane Stephens to reach the last eight at the Hobart International.

Watson prevailed with a 6-3 6-1 triumph in little over an hour on court and now faces Roberta Vinci in the quarter-finals.

“This is how I want to play consistently,” Watson said after her victory. “I’m feeling good, confident and very comfortable coming to the net.”

Watson has been in fine form the Australian Open, which begins on January 19, fast approaching. The Briton comfortably beat Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets in the opening round to set up her clash with Stephens.

Last week, Watson partnered Andy Murray as Great Britain beat Australia 3-0 in their final Hopman Cup fixture. However, Team GB were pipped to the final by Poland, who then went on to beat United States for the title.

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