Tipped for the top
Heather Watson can reach the top of women's tennis after her maiden WTA Tour title, says Greg Rusedski.
Last Updated: 15/10/12 8:36am
Heather Watson can reach the top of women's tennis after her maiden WTA Tour title, according to Greg Rusedski.
The 20-year-old became the first British woman since 1988 to win a tour singles title after her 7-5 5-7 7-6 victory over Kai-Chen Chang in the Japan Open on Sunday.
Watson showed great resolve to save four match points, having served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, before clinching the title in a tie-break after three hours and 11 minutes.
With the win she followed in the footsteps of Sara Gomer, the last British winner of a singles title on the WTA Tour in California in 1988, and Rusedski believes she is set for the top of the women's game.
He told Sky Sports News: "For Heather to win a title just takes that step up where she can be cracking into the top 50 very soon and probably getting to the top of the game. So it is an amazing accomplishment."
It has been a breakthrough year for fellow Brit Laura Robson as well. She reached the final of the Guangzhou Open last month, only to be denied a first tour title by Hsieh Su-wei, having won a silver medal with Andy Murray in the Olympics and reaching the fourth round of the US Open over the summer.
And Sky Sports pundit Annabel Croft believes the rivalry between Watson and Robson is inspiring each athlete to greater heights.
"This is a really, really huge win. I think she is going to go towards the top 50 in the world now and I think both her and Laura are definitely going to push each other because they are both there vying for position," she said.
"When you have two players who are projecting up the rankings I think it looks fantastic for the future. It is really exciting. And the fact that Laura was only in a final of a WTA tour event just a few weeks ago proves to us that we can have two players who are going to potentially be winning tour titles out there in the future."
Rusedski agreed that the women's game in Britain is thriving and expects to see Watson and Robson in many WTA Tour finals in the future.
"We changed the structures in 2006 and we have got a good crop of women tennis players really pushing each other as we saw from the US Open earlier this year," he said.
"I think the women's game is doing brilliantly at the moment and on top of that we have Judy Murray who is the Fed Cup captain as well.
"So if you look at the combination of all those areas I think it is just going to go from strength to strength. I wouldn't be surprised if we are seeing Laura and Heather in many finals to come."