Watson takes Osaka title
Heather Watson became the first Briton to win a WTA Tour singles title in 24 years by beating Chang Kai-chen HP Open final in Osaka.
The 20-year-old from Guernsey looked to have thrown her way her chance of victory when, having served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, fell a break down and faced match point in the decider.
But she showed plenty of fighting spirit to break back before finally clinching a 7-5 5-7 7-6 (7/4) win in three hours 11 minutes.
Watson's win means she has followed in the footsteps of Sara Gomer, the last British winner of a singles title on the WTA Tour in California in 1988.
Watson's win will move her back above compatriot Laura Robson in the world rankings, making her British number one again.
The success came just a month after Robson reached the final of a WTA event in China.
Today's final was a topsy-turvy encounter with both players carving out a total of 33 break points and breaking seven times each.
Watson took the first set by four breaks to three, but dropped her serve three times again in the second to let her 21-year-old opponent back into the match.
But after breaking Chang back to level the decider at 5-5, the Briton held her nerve in the tie-break to continue the rise of British women's tennis.
Watson added on BBC Radio 5 live: "I've been working to be more aggressive lately. When I got to the point when I was three match points down and she was serving for the match at 5-4 40-0 I just thought 'oh no, I had this, I was so close', but I just took it point by point, I don't know how I did it but I did.
"Now I've got the title and I am so happy, this ranks as one of the best days of my life."
Watson also hoped to add the doubles title in Osaka but admitted fatigue got the better of her.
"After the singles I had one hour to get ready for the doubles final. I wanted to go and win that as well. It was unfortunate and I think my legs did give out a bit and my reactions were quite slow but our opponents played really well," she said.
"This was my last tournament of the year and I couldn't have ended it any better, I'm just so happy."
Watson's victory today continued a memorable year for British tennis and the 20-year-old admits the success enjoyed by the likes of Murray and Robson has helped motivate her.
"When I see somebody doing well I always want to do better so I think that's really pushed me," she said.