Heather Watson continues to have a good season on the tour!
Including qualifying matches the Brit has done something she has never done before and that is win 13 matches before the end of February!
Heather was a semi-finalist in her usual happy hunting ground of Hobart this year where she is a former champion. The Brit’s last title on the tour came in March 2016 in Monterrey where she is off to next week following her second WTA title in Mexico and her fourth singles title overall!
Heather’s opponent was 17 year old Leylah Fernandez who came through qualifying with a wildcard there to make her first WTA Final.
It was a very good start from the British number two who re-enters the top 50 on Monday and it will go far in her quest to qualify for an Olympic spot in August!
Heather forced herself up a double break immediately to take a 3-0 lead. The Canadian did see a break point of her own next up but couldn’t convert as the Brit extended her lead to 4-0.
The Canadian seemed to settle and took an opportunity to break following a lovely flat backhand cross court as she forced her way back into the set at 3-5. The teenager began to find her feet with her backhand and drop shot to get back to 4-5 and ask that serving question of Heather Watson.
Heather opened up the game with a double fault before reeling off four impressive shots to take a 6-4 lead!
Once again the Brit got the better of the Canadian in her opening service game following some good net play and Watson converted her early break points backing up her break of serve with a hold to love and some big defending off that backhand slice!
Despite disappointment for the Canadian she continued to move on and try to find her way back into the match wasting no time between points and stopped herself going down a double break of serve!
Watson had points in the previous game for 3-0 but Leylah was not done there as fought back to 2-2!
A big hold down 2-3 from Watson to stop a small run from the Canadian putting the pressure back on Fernandez.
At 4-4 the tension began to increase from both players as that match potentially edged towards a third set or a conclusion. A tentative second serve from Fernandez at 15-15 opened the door slightly for Heather Watson who got a look at a second serve but smashed it straight into the net!
The pressure from Watson at the net forced a short error from Leylah at the net to set up a break point which was saved with an excellent serve out wide.
The continued fight from the teenager was fantastic as she fought ahead to a 5-4 lead and would ask the question of Heather Watson again!
Only a tie-break would settle this mad third set of tennis and the tie-breaker was even madder. At 6-2 the Brit had it on her racket but during the match 9 match points came and went as she lost the tie-break 10-8!
The third set thankfully for the Brit turned into a bit of a runaway once she got that break of serve and won 6-4 6-7 6-1 to win her fourth career WTA title and her first since 2016!
photo credit – El Abierto Mexicano TELCEL