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WTA Abu Dhabi: Heather Watson beats Jodie Burrage as Britons return to tour – NewsEverything England

Heather Watson and Jodie Burrage after their match at the Battle of the Brits
Heather Watson additionally beat Jodie Burrage once they performed within the Battle of the Brits exhibition occasion in London final month

Heather Watson fought again to beat Jodie Burrage in Abu Dhabi because the pair grew to become the primary British girls to compete in a tour-level main-draw match since September.

British quantity two Watson, 28, gained 4-6 6-2 7-5 towards 21-year-old Burrage.

Watson, ranked 58th on the earth, had not performed at tour stage since dropping on the French Open on 29 September.

Burrage was making her tour debut and an indication of her potential was proven by her disappointment at not beating Watson.

With the WTA Tour deserted within the latter months of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the occasion in Abu Dhabi has been newly created for 2021.

Its goal is to assist gamers return to aggressive motion in preparation for subsequent month’s Australian Open and earn cash after a number of barren months with out competitors.

A number of of the world’s main gamers have been interested in the occasion, together with Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.

The 22-year-old American wanted an hour to safe the primary set in her opener towards China’s Yang Zhaoxuan earlier than bettering to win 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Ukrainian second seed Elina Svitolina, Czech former world primary Karolina Pliskova and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza additionally earned straight-set opening wins on Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi event is barely the third WTA occasion being held because the French Open led to early October.

With no Britons participating within the tournaments in Ostrava or Linz, the assembly between Watson and Burrage marked the return of British curiosity on the highest stage.

It was an eerie ambiance because the pair met in a late night match performed with out followers and underneath floodlights within the Center East.

That didn’t diminish the depth and can to win from the 2 gamers, nevertheless.

Each confirmed indicators of frustration – Watson as she struggled to seek out rhythm on the early levels and Burrage as she missed alternatives within the decider – earlier than the previous’s expertise noticed her by way of towards the world quantity 263.

Watson goes on to face Russian 17th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova within the final 32.

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