Joy for Heather Watson as she digs deep to lift Mexican title

Heather Watson spoke of her relief after bouncing back from a “heartbreaking” second set to win the Mexican Open final.

Heather Watson celebrates with the trophy after defeating Canadian Leylah Fernandez to win the Mexican Open final in  Acapulco. Picture: Getty.
Heather Watson celebrates with the trophy after defeating Canadian Leylah Fernandez to win the Mexican Open final in Acapulco. Picture: Getty.

The British No 2 triumphed 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-1 over Canada’s Leylah Fernandez to seal her fourth WTA Tour title, after squandering five championship points in the second-set tie-break.

Watson eventually put the encounter to bed with her tenth match point, revealing afterwards how she dealt mentally with her second-set profligacy. “I’m so happy to get my fourth title,” Watson said in quotes reported by wtatennis.com.

“It’s been a few years, so I’m just really, really happy I came through that match.”

She added: “It was so up and down. 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.

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“It was heartbreaking losing the second set, but I also reminded myself that I also saved a lot of set points before that. It was so close, both of us had our chances.

“I just had to leave that set behind me, even though I had my opportunities, and just remind myself that it’s just a tennis match and it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t win. Just play every point and focus on just that one point, that next point.”

Watson last won a title in 2016, also in Mexico, and it has been a tough road since.

The 27-year-old has dipped in and out of the top 100, but she ended last season by reaching the final of the Tianjin Open and has not looked back. She began 2020 by making the semi-finals of the Hobart International and Saturday’s victory will return her to the top 50 for the first time in nearly four years.

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Rafael Nadal won his first title of the year with an emphatic performance against American Taylor Fritz in the men’s final.

The Spaniard trounced Taylor 6-3, 6-2 in Acapulco, the American making a series of unforced errors in the second set before Nadal brought up match point with an ace and Taylor returned long to end the match.

The result means Nadal has now won the Mexican Open on three occasions. “I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “I played a great event from the beginning to the end. Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing. I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time.”

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic maintained his unbeaten start to 2020 by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final.

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Djokovic, who saved three successive match points in his semi-final win against Gael Monfils on Friday, won his 21st consecutive match – 18 this season – to claim the Dubai title for a fifth time.

The world No 1 converted all three of his break points against Tsitsipas to triumph in one hour and 19 minutes.

It was Djokovic’s 79th ATP title win, which places him fifth on the all-time list behind Jimmy Connors (109), Roger Federer (103), Ivan Lendl (94) and Nadal (84).