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Watson Wins Osaka; Ends U.K.'s WTA Title Drought

Heather Watson became the first British woman since 1988 to win a WTA title with a hard-fought three set win in the finals of Osaka. Results, orders of play, draws, and other information for the HP Open in Osaka, Japan.

By Erik Gudris

(October 14, 2012) -- In a final featuring two women seeking their first ever WTA title, it was Heather Watson who saved four match points to win the HP Open in Osaka, Japan.

Facing Taiwan's Chang Kai-Chen, who upset Sam Stosur in the semis, Watson jumped out to a 3-0 lead to begin the match but only to let Chang back into it at 4-3. Chang went ahead 5-3 and served for the set, but lost her advantage as Watson won the last four games to claim it 7-5.

The see-saw nature of the over three hour match continued into the second set as Watson, hitting a healthy 70% of her first serves, found herself a point away from the title at 5-3. But Chang fought back to break Watson and then went on to win the set to force a decider.

Both women traded breaks of serve in the final set with Chang eventually going up 5-3 and then held four match points at 5-4. But Watson saved all of them to eventually force a tiebreak. Watson earned a 3-1 lead and didn't let go of it as she finally clinched a 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(4) victory.

Watson not only earned her first ever main tour title but she also became the first U.K. woman in 22 years to win a WTA title since Sara Gomer won at Aptos in 1988.

"I was in the changing room afterwards, changing my clothes, and I thought to myself, 'Did I really win?' So it's just starting to settle in," Watson told afterwards. "I've worked so hard for this moment my whole career - that's why I practiced so hard, ran all those miles and lifted all those weights, for moments like this."

Watson also reflected on the recent surge in British tennis with Andy Murray winning the Olympics and the U.S. Open and Laura Robson reaching the Guangzhou finals. "Britain has been breaking quite a few records recently, so I'm happy I could break another one today. I'm proud to do this for my country."

Watson couldn't quite make a clean sweep in Osaka as she later lost in the doubles final with her partner Kimiko Date-Krumm to the American team of Racquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 6-1,6-4. The win kept the Americans' hopes alive of making the final spot at the WTA Championships at Istanbul later this month.


Osaka, Japan
October 8-14, 2012
Tournament Website: HP Open | Live Scores | Draws | TV Schedule

Singles – Final
Heather Watson (GBR) d. Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) 75 57 76(4) (saved 4mp)

Doubles – Final
(1) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (4) Date-Krumm/Watson (JPN/GBR) 61 64 

Tournament Website: HP Open | Live Scores | Draws | TV Schedule


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