Britain’s 20 year old Heather Watson, number 71 on the WTA rankings faced the home player Misaki Doi, ranked at number 123 at the semi final stage of the HP Open being played in Osaka, Japan, this week. Watson has a straight sets win in the first round and battled through a difficult second round three setter against the tournament’s 6th seed Anabel Medina-Garrigues, to book her place in the quarters where she had another straight sets win. Doi had a three set match in the first round, a straight sets win in the second and then took out the number 7 seed Chanelle Scheepers, also in three sets. These two players have met twice in the past with Watson taking both those matches and on Saturday in Osaka her winning streak continues, as she can through in two very hard fought sets, 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 in just over two hours on court.
In the second semi final match, number one seed and 9th ranked Aussie Sam Stosur took on Taiwan’s Kai-Chen Chang, ranked at number 134. Stosur has an easy straight set win in the first round, came back from a 1-6 deficit to win in three in the second round; and again won in straights in the quarters. Chang took out the tournament’s number 3 seed Christina Mchale, in the first round in straight sets, won in straights again in the second round and battled a three setter in the quarters to earn her place in the semis. Playing way above her ranking, Chang took the first set against Stosur 6-4, but the Aussie came back to take the second by the same margin. The decider was a nail biter, as the players held their serves to 4-4, when Chang broke for a 5-4 lead and the chance to serve out for the match, but Stosur held on to level and then broke for 6-5. Serving to stay in the match, Chang held to force a tie breaker – a fitting end to this excellent match, which Chang took 7-3 for a well deserved win. End result: 6-4 4-6 7-6 (3).