Less than a month after British No.1 Laura Robson made it to the final of the Guangzhou Open and became the first British woman in 22 years to reach a WTA final, twenty-year-old Heather Watson came through an epic battle against Taiwan’s Chang Kai-Chen to win 7-5 5-7 7-6(4) in her first career WTA final at the HP Open in Osaka. The singles trophy is the first on the women’s side for Great Britain since 1988 (Watson was born for years later)!
Watson is ranked No.71 and is the second ranked player of her nationality, after Robson who is No.56 and the youngest player in the Top 100. Before this week, Watson’s best results were three quarterfinals, all in 2011. Robson was also successful in Osaka, having reached the quarterfinals, where she lost to the eventual finalist Chang, who later took out top seed and Grand Slam champion Samantha Stosur.
En route to the Osaka title and $37,000 in prize money, Watson defeated Polona Hercog 6-4 6-4 in the first round, sixth seed Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-7(4) 6-2 6-3 in the second, Pauline Parmentier 7-5 6-3 in the quarterfinals, local favorite Misaki Doi 7-6(2) 7-5 in the semis, and finally Kai-Chen Chang. Incredibly, Watson is also in the doubles final, alongside 42-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krum. Watson has a chance to become the first Brit to win the singles and doubles at the same WTA event since Anne Hobbs in 1985. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)