• Hobart International

Watson beats Riske and rain to reach Hobart final

ESPN staff
January 16, 2015
Heather Watson overcame six rain delays - including one at match point - to beat Alison Riske © Getty Images

Heather Watson is one win away from her second WTA title after reaching the final at the Hobart International with a straight-sets victory over Alison Riske.

The British No.1 and Riske, who at No.42 is ranked seven places above Watson in the world standings, were forced off the court at Domain Tennis Centre in Tasmania six times due to rain - including once at match point.

But Watson eventually prevailed 6-3 7-5 to advance to the final, where she will play another American, Madison Brengle, who beat Japan's Kurumi Nara 6-4 1-6 6-3.

Australian Open draw

  • Shortly before her victory, Heather Watson discovered she will begin her Australian Open against world No.67 Tsvetana Pironkova.
  • Andy Murray will open against an as-yet decided qualifier, but faces a tough second week with potential showdowns with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov in the same half of the draw.
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"I'm very happy to finally get through today," Watson told reporters. "It was tough.

"It's definitely not great conditions to play tennis and it was never going to be a very pretty match. The goal for Alison and me today was just to get the ball in and not go for free points."

Watson recovered from 3-1 down in the opening set to win the next five games and also came back from the same deficit in the second.

Then, leading 5-4, Watson let her first two match points slip but had just set up a third when heavy rain forced the players off once again.

The delay lasted an hour and it was hardly surprising that Watson served a double fault when play eventually resumed. She followed that by losing the next two points and her serve.

But the 22-year-old promptly broke Riske's serve to lead 6-5 and this time served out for a place in Saturday's final against former leading junior Brengle, who is up to a career-high world No.84.

Asked about the rain delay at match point, Watson added: "I obviously wanted to play but the point before I had slipped myself, so it was the right thing to do."

Watson will be looking to add to her first WTA victory, which she picked up in Japan two years ago.

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