Watson wins battle of past champions
HEATHER WATSON has booked her place in the Hobart International semi-finals with a dramatic triumph over a world top-20 player – her first such upset in nearly three years.
Resurgent WTA No. 101 Watson edged a marathon quarter-final against Belgium’s Elise Mertens, seeing off the tournament’s top seed and world No. 17 to make great headway towards potentially reclaiming a title she won in 2015.
Mertens is a two-time previous winner in Hobart and the Sarnian had found herself one set down before taking the next two in a match featuring several rain delays, triumphing 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5 after a hard-fought 3hrs 33min.
‘I’ve played Elise before this, and she’s beaten me every time. I’m very happy with how I played today, especially under the circumstances,’ said the victor.
Watson has now set up an encounter with Elena Rybakina, the No. 3 seed, in her semi.
- HEATHER WATSON could soon face Elise Mertens once again, if both reach the second round of the Australian Open. The Sarnian has been drawn against world No. 62 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round in Melbourne next week.