Watson advances to final qualifying round

5 January 2019, by Leigh Rogers

Brit Heather Watson led the winners on day one of Hobart International qualifying.

The eighth-seeded Watson proved too strong for Australia’s Naiktha Bains, scoring a 7-5 6-3 win in the opening match on Centre Court.

“I’m happy to get through that one,” said the No.91-ranked Watson. “It wasn’t my best tennis, but it is tough at the beginning of the year getting into it again.”

Watson admitted a lack of match practice and nerves impacted her game, yet took confidence from her impressive record at the tournament. The 26-year-old won the Hobart International in 2015 and reached the semifinals as a qualifier last year.

“I have so many good memories here,” Watson said. “I love the conditions and I think the court suits my game really well, so I’m always so happy to come back to Hobart.”

Watson now faces Australian Isabelle Wallace in the final qualifying round tomorrow.

Wallace advanced with a 6-3 6-0 win over American Sabrina Santamaria, losing only 14 points on serve in the 54-minute match.

No.381-ranked Wallace was one of four Australian winners on day one, with Alison Bai and Olivia Rogowska also scoring first-round victories.

READ: Alison Bai celebrating career-best win

Rogowska upset fifth seed Polona Hercog, posting a 6-7(5) 6-0 6-3 win.

“She is a very respectable player, when I saw the draw I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Rogowska said.

“I was really proud with how I handled my emotions when I lost that really tight first set, I really knuckled down and it was a good win.”

Kaylah McPhee, a No.352-ranked Australian, scored a 6-1 3-6 6-3 win over No.82-ranked Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena. It was the 20-year-old’s first top-100 victory.

Other winners included Poland’s Magda Linette and 2015 finalist Madison Brengle.