Watson takes WTA Tour title

The Bolton News: Heather Watson claimed her first WTA Tour title in Japan Heather Watson claimed her first WTA Tour title in Japan

Heather Watson became the first Briton to win a WTA Tour singles title in 24 years by winning a marathon match against Chang Kai-chen of Chinese Taipei in the final of the HP Open in Osaka.

The 20-year-old from Guernsey looked to have thrown away her chance of victory when, having served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, she fell a break down and faced match point in the decider.

But she showed plenty of fighting spirit to break back before finally clinching a 7-5 5-7 7-6 (7/4) win in three hours 11 minutes.

Watson's win means she has followed in the footsteps of Sara Gomer, the last British winner of a singles title on the WTA Tour in California in 1988.

Watson's win will move her back above compatriot Laura Robson in the world rankings, making her British number one again.

The success came just a month after Robson reached the final of a WTA event in China.

Sunday's final was a topsy-turvy encounter with both players carving out a total of 33 break points and breaking seven times each.

Watson took the first set by four breaks to three, but dropped her serve three times again in the second to let her 21-year-old opponent back into the match.

But after breaking Chang back to level the decider at 5-5, the Briton held her nerve in the tie-break to continue the rise of British women's tennis.

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