Heather Watson beaten in semi-finals of Hobart International
British No 2 will now head to Melbourne for next week's Australian Open
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 12/01/18 12:11pm
Heather Watson's run at the Hobart International ended with a semi-final loss to Elise Mertens.
Watson has been in excellent form in Tasmania but found defending champion Mertens, the world No 36, ultimately too strong.
Watson, who won the title in 2015, fought back well after losing the opening set but Mertens regrouped in the decider and went on to triumph 6-4 1-6 6-2.
The British No 2 will now head to Melbourne, where she opens her Australian Open campaign against Kazakh Yulia Putintseva.
"(It is) just frustrating. Thought I made too many unforced errors," Watson said. "Because I'd been playing so well, I expected more of myself."
Mertens will face Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu, who reached her first WTA Tour final with a 6-2 6-2 victory over fifth seed Lesia Tsurenko.
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In Sydney, Ashleigh Barty overcame a slow start to win her all-Australian semi-final against Daria Gavrilova 3-6 6-4 6-2 and advance to the final of the Sydney International.
The 21-year-old needed one hour and 58 minutes to set up a final against either Camila Giorgi or Angelique Kerber.
"I certainly shot myself in the foot with my serve today," she said. "But happy to get through in the end and get another opportunity tomorrow.
"Its been a pleasure playing here this week."
If Barty is to lift the trophy she must do what no other player has been able to do so far this season and beat former world No 1 Angelique Kerber.
The German appears rejuvenated under new coach Wim Fissette after a nightmare 2017 and ended the run of qualifier Camila Giorgi with a 6-2 6-3 victory.
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