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Watson reaches first career singles final at Japan Open

The Guardian

IMG Academy alum, Heather Watson, reached her first career singles final at the Japan OpenGreat Britain's Heather Watson, who trains at IMG Academy, and Chang Kai-chen of Taiwan both reached their first ever singles final on the WTA Tour at the HP Open in Osaka.

The 20-year-old from Guernsey beat Japan's Misaki Doi in two tight sets – and Chang then stunned top seed Sam Stosur in a third-set tie-break. Watson's victory comes three weeks after Laura Robson became the first British woman to reach a WTA final since Jo Durie in 1990.

Watson took the first set against Doi, winning 7-2 in a tie-break after each player broke serve once. But like Watson's quarter-final win over Pauline Parmentier on Friday, Saturday's second set was littered with service breaks – an area Watson will surely have to improve on in the final.

Watson finally came through with a late fourth break against three for her opponent, wrapping up a 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 win in just over two hours to end the hopes of the home fans.

Stosur was the only woman among the final four who had previously reached a tour semi-final but quickly found herself a set down against world No134 Chang.

Stosur levelled the match but Chang, who knocked out Watson's fellow Briton Laura Robson on Friday, was not to be denied. After a break apiece in the final set she forced four match-points in the breaker, taking the second to win 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3).

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