WTA Quebec City: Heather Watson upsets Monica Niculescu


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WTA Quebec City: Heather Watson upsets Monica Niculescu

Great Britain's Heather Watson scored her first WTA main draw victory in over a month. The Brit clinched the eighth main draw victory of the season as she defeated No.4 seed Monica Niculescu, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the second round at Coupe Banque Nationale.

Watson, who claimed the 16th hardcourt win of the season, last won a WTA main draw match at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in July, needed over two hours to upset the Romanian, after losing in three sets both previous encounters in 2016.

In Canada, Watson played the lone final this year at ITF level, losing in Vancouver to Misaki Doi in her best result of the year, saved all 10 break points faced in the opening set, and secured the lone break of serve in the final game.

After coming through a marathon opener Watson, playing the tournament for the fourth time, having reached the quarter-finals in 2011 losing to Tamira Paszek, won the first five games of the second set and converted the fifth match point over the Romanian, suffering the fifth defeat in a row.

Watson will face Leylah Fernandez, who clinched the first tour victory in her main draw debut. The Laval native, the tournament's website reported, "has also been making a name for herself among the pros. After reaching the quarter-finals at the Saguenay Challenger last fall, she continued her momentum into 2018, coming close to qualifying for the main draw at the Rogers Cup".

She beat Gabriela Dabrowski, seeking just a third main draw victory of her career, 6-3 7-5. 2010 and 2013 semifinalist Christina McHale completed the third comeback win of the season as she defeated Dayana Yastremska, playing on a career-high rank at No.96, 2-6 6-2 7-6(1).

McHale extended to 7-5 her tiebreak record this season and to 10-8 her final set tiebreak career mark after a tense match. Yastremska was up 5-3 in the decider, but the American used her experience to move the younger opponent behind the baseline to seal the sixth WTA win of the season.

McHale, who won 100 three-setters in her career at all levels, will face Pauline Parmentier who completed a 7-5 6-3 victory over Veronika Kudermetova to open her first main draw appearance in Quebec City. Madison Brengle completed the first main draw hard court victory of the season, the 40th in her career, as she defeated qualifier Victoria Duval 6-4 6-7(2) 6-4 completing nine breaks from 11 looks.

The American sealed the second success in a 3-set encounter at WTA level in 2018 and avoided the seventh first-round loss this year. She will meet Olympic Gold medalist Monica Puig. Playing at the National Bank Cup for the very first time, looking to build off of her recent hot streak having reached the semi-finals at the WTA Premier tournament in New Haven, Puig defeated 6-2 6-3 Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.