Britain’s Heather Watson was unable to clinch her fifth WTA doubles title after she lost out in the final of the Hungarian Open.
Partnering defending champion Fanny Stollar, the third seeds were unable to cap off a great week in Budapest as they went down 6-4 4-6 10-7 to the Russian duo Vera Zvonareva and Ekaterina Alexandrova.
In a competitive and entertaining final, it was the Russians who proved too strong, particularly in the baseline rallies. Capitalising on a number of errors from both Stollar and Watson, the Russian pair always looked on top and played a tactically astute match.
Watson’s backhand was again her biggest weapon and caused Alexandrova and Zvonareva issues, but the Brit’s forehand often looked vulnerable. Stollar’s movement at the net showed she has the makings of an excellent doubles player, but her inconsistency was punished by the experienced Russians.
Watson and Stollar both showed their frustrations in the final set, dropping their racquets as they failed to take hold of an early 3-1 lead. The crowd, which was clearly siding with the Hungarian, was left silent as Watson was unable to connect with a volley on match point, albeit with the ball hurtling towards her at pace.
Despite losing in Sunday’s final, this good run in Hungary will be a welcome relief for Watson, who continued her singles struggles earlier in the week. Watson will rise to a new career high in the doubles rankings when they are announced tomorrow, breaking into the top 40 for the first time.
Both players now travel to Indian Wells for the WTA 125K tournament, where Watson will face Han Xinyun, while Stollar meets Jamie Loeb in the opening round.