- Heather Watson remained unbeaten in all four of her matches
- The men’s table was topped by Anton Matusevich and Jack Draper
- Dan Evans downed by Cameron Norrie
- As the new season starts to take shape, British stars can take positive from match sharpness
LONDON, UK – The Battle of the Brits Premier League concluded with Heather Watson topping the women’s table and youngsters Anton Matusevich and Jack Draper tying for the top of the men’s table.
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Cameron Norrie def. Dan Evans 6-3 6-2
It was a slow start over the tournament for the British No. 3 Cameron Norrie. He was stunned by Jack Draper in his opening match and could not match Andy Murray’s momentum as he makes his own return to match sharpness.
Having had to withdraw from the Battle of the Brits encounter with Evans, it was an impressive performance from Norrie. In the summer, his improved movement to an already complete game really showed, and it was evident against Evans who just seemed to lack a bit of pep after his previous three matches.
The first set was as competitive as you would expect by two of the best players in the country at the moment but Evans, who has not been shy if giving vent to his frustrations, could not make good on three break point chances, but Norrie made no mistake on his first opportunity, going on to serve out the first set to love.
Norrie was quick off the mark in the second set, breaking Evans in the first game, and then the penultimate game, saving two break points before taking just the one match point to get his first win on the board.
Heather Watson def. Fran Jones 7-6(2) 6-2
After Francesca Jones stunned Jodie Burrage, who made such an impact in the summer domestic events, the conclusion of the tournament resulted in another battle. No less than five straight breaks of serve started the match as Jones matched Watson for depth and pace.
With Jones the first to hold, Watson had to stay patient and take her chance to come level before going on to force the tie-break. There though, it was one-way traffic as she stormed into a one-set lead.
It was Watson in the driving seat as Jones looked to be struggling a little with cramp, and from a 0-4 deficit, she managed a couple more games on the board as Watson claimed her fourth straight win of the tournament.
Matusevich and Draper top the men’s table
The young up-coming players also had plenty to celebrate in a chance to get match time in a season that has been curtailed for many of them. Coming into the final day, Matusevich and Draper both had two wins and one loss, and the outcome could have been determined by their match-up but the scoring system allows for one point for a set won on the way to the defeat. Although Matusevich’s powerful game was more than a match for Draper, the 19-year-old came back to level things up before a tight match-tie-break and the point for a set meant he tied with Matusevich for the top spot – with Matusevich crowned as the champion based on the day’s win.
Low-key, but effective
This event did not have any of the hoopla that surrounded the first two iterations, but it was successful none the less in bring British players on every level together to get some competition under their belts. As we saw in the summer the younger players enjoy and benefit from being around the older, more established players.
Draper in particular scored a mighty scalp in a straight sets win over Norrie, and some of the younger women gave British No. 2 Heather Watson a few challenges on her way to four straight wins.
There is still a lot of chopping and changing going on in terms of which tournament the Brits will head to, but the news of a new strain of the coronavirus in the UK may prompt some players to change their plans and head straight to Melbourne and quarantine than risk fitting in one tournament half-way to Australia.
The new season is set to begin on 5 January with ATP 250s in Antalya and Delray Beach and WTA 500 Abu Dhabi.
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