Has won in all three tour level finals she has competed in
TIANJIN, CHINA – Heather Watson continued her great run of form after easing past Veronika Kudermetova to reach her fourth tour-level final, where she will face Rebecca Peterson.
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Heather Watson def. Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 6-4
To say this has been a battle for British No. 2 Heather Watson to reach her fourth tour-level is an understatement. In a year that has seen her struggle for main draw form at a tour level, and dropping down to the lower tiers to regain some much needed confidence, to make the main draw in Tianjin on her own merit was a great start, coming in as the penultimate direct acceptance into the main draw.
Despite a three-hour long quarter-final against the No. 8 seed Magda Linette, it was Watson who started the brightest in her semi-final against Veronika Kudermetova, with an immediate break to build up a 4-1 advantage. Breaking the Russian again towards the end of the set helped her wrap up a quick lead.
Kudermetova rallied a little, in the second set, able to defend herself against more pressure from Watson, saving two break points but was unable to do the same on her next service game, handing Watson the advantage. She fought hard to bring up three points to break the Brit straight back, but Watson defended her corner well.
Kudermetova did well to save a couple of match points as Watson threatened to break her for the match, but was able to book her spot in the final for the third time of asking.
As reported in WTATennis.com, Watson said: “Yesterday was a really tough match and I think all those hours on court helped me play well today, so maybe it was a good thing. It’s my first time here in Tianjin, so it’s a great first experience for me. I’m looking forward to playing the final and hopefully I can play as well as I managed today.”
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Interestingly enough, as against Linette, she has only faced Rebecca Peterson once in this Asian swing, where the Swede got the better of her in the first round of qualifying quite comfortably in qualifying. Against Linette she fought hard and had to mix things up with great defence and picking her moments to attack.
She will face an opponent who has already had a bit of success in China, winning her maiden WTA title in Nanchang at the start of the swing, so would no doubt like to add a second title before the swing moves back to Europe. Peterson possesses an impressive forehand and has worked hard on improving the mental side of her game.
That can be an area where Watson has sometimes struggled, getting down on herself, but this run of results should see her comfortably back in the Top 100 and thus securing herself a main draw spot in the Australian Open.
When Watson is on song, she has it all – she can defend, but can switch it up to play aggressively, and while she dominated the No. 2 seed Wang Qiang, she had to earn her spot with a tough fight against Linette.
She will hope that experience carries her through to a fourth title, and to keep that unbeaten run going.
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