Britain's Heather Watson wins the Japan Open after narrow victory in Osaka
Last Updated: October 14, 2012 12:41pm
Heather Watson: First British woman since 1988 to win a WTA Tour title
Heather Watson has become the first British woman since 1988 to win a singles WTA Tour title after her 7-5 5-7 7-6 victory over Kai-Chen Chang in the Japan Open.
The 20-year-old from Guernsey looked to have thrown away her chance of victory when, having served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, she fell a break down in the decider.
But she showed impressive fighting spirit to save four match points at 4-5 in the final set before finally clinching a dramatic win on a tie-break after three hours 11 minutes.
The match was a topsy-turvy and somewhat nervy affair, the unseeded duo breaking serve seven times each as they sought maiden WTA titles.
Watson took the first set by four breaks to three, but dropped her serve three times again in the second, letting her 21-year-old opponent back into the match.
But after breaking back to level the decider at 5-5, the Briton held her nerve in a tense tie-break, winning it 7-4 to continue the rise of British women's tennis.
Watson's win means she has followed in the footsteps of Sara Gomer, the last British winner of a singles title on the WTA Tour in California in 1988.
And she will also move back above Laura Robson in the world rankings and become the British No 1 once again.
However, Watson could not quite make it a perfect week as herself and partner Kimiko Date-Krumm were handed a 6-1 6-4 defeat by American duo Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears in the doubles final.