Mexican Magic: Heather Watson breaks top 50 with Acapulco title

Heather Watson d. Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-7 6-1

Heather Watson’s fine start to 2020 continued last night, after she defeated Canadian teenage sensation Leylah Fernandez to clinch the Mexican Open title in Acapulco.

The Mexican Open is Watson’s fourth career WTA title and first since 2016 (incidentally claimed in Mexico, too), and she clinched it in after showing real nerve against a free-flowing opponent.

After winning the opening set and taking the second to a tie break, Watson raced to a 6-2 lead, giving her four Championship points. However Fernandez was unnerved and battled through, saving a total of five match points to eventually take it to a decider.

British fans might’ve expected Watson to buckle from the setback, but 2020 Heather has shown real strength and resolve. The Brit expertly served her opening game to 15, before instantly breaking the Canadian qualifier to re-establish the lead.

And after breaking Fernandez to love to lead 5-1, Watson had a second chance to serve out the match. Once again, the 17 year-old Canadian battled, moving freely to hit winners in an entertaining game to save another four match points. But, after saving a break point, Watson eventually got the win, hitting a winner down the line to clinch the title.

I don’t care how you got there. You got there!

Michelle Watson after the match

Victory will see Watson break the top 50 once again, and moves onto the WTA event in Monterrey in fine form.

Since losing to Anett Kontaveit at Wimbledon last year, Watson has reached two WTA finals (Tianjin and Acapulco) and one semi-final (Hobart), as well as winning the IFT W100 event in Vancouver. She has also achieved notable victories over Elise Mertens, Qiang Wang and Coco Vandeweghe, showing signs that the Heather Watson of 2015 is back.

With little to defend over the next three months, Watson can continue to play with the freedom and confidence which has seen her rise up the rankings. Her movement has improved vastly over the last six months, while she’s not afraid to hit winners on both the forehand and backhand, making her one to avoid for any player.

Whisper it quietly, but a seeding at Wimbledon is not impossible, and with it, a real chance to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.

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