By Ros Satar

  • Heather Watson [7] def. Leylah Fernandez [Q] 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-1
  • Claims fourth career title, and first since 2016
  • Watson moves back into Top 50
ACAPULCO, MEXICO – Heather Watson had to earn her fourth career title the hard way, defeating qualifier Leylah Fernandez on her 10th match point.

 

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Heather Watson [7] def. Leylah Fernandez [Q] 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-1

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The British No. 2 Heather Watson had to work hard to lift a fourth career title as she was tested to the limit by 17-year-old qualifier Leylah Fernandez.

At first it looked very much like nerves would scupper the Canadian’s chances, as Watson raced ahead to a 5-1 lead in the first set, but as Fernandez started to settle, she clawed her way back into the match.

She broke Watson the first time she served for the first set but started to set in motion a gripping match. Even through the Canadian was broken again at the start of the set, she broke Watson to get back on level terms.

As the Canadian finally got her nose in front for the first time in the match, she found herself with four set point chances, all saved as Watson forced a tie-break.

From a commanding position of five match points, Fernandez scrapped and battled to turn the tide, saving them all and adding two more set-points to her own tally, converting finally on her sixth.

After a lengthy break from both of them before the decider, it was Watson who broke for an early lead for the third straight time. Fernandez was beginning to feel fatigued, and it started to show as Watson kept on the pressure, breaking once more for a 5-2 lead and remarkably needing five more match points to take the title.

 

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As reported by the WTA, she told reporters after the match: “I’m so happy to get my fourth title. It’s been a few years, so I’m just really, really happy I came through that match.”

“It was so up and down,” she continued. “I had those [match] points in the second set, and I wasn’t able to win that, but I was really pleased with how I stayed in the moment and won that third set.”

Watson, who is projected to return to the Top 50 next week, will next play in Monterrey which takes place between 2-8 March.

 

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