Watson and Matusevich crowned Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis champions
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Heather Watson and Anton Matusevich came out on top in the inaugural staging of the Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis as they topped the women’s and men’s standings respectively.
The four-day event held at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton saw a group of Britain’s leading players go head to head in a series of entertaining contests and it was Watson who shined brightest winning all four matches she played.
In the men’s event rising stars Matusevich and Jack Draper shared top spot with seven points apiece, and it was a head-to-head between the two today which ultimately decided who triumphed in the event.
Matusevich’s easy power proved to be decisive at the end of the first set as he broke Draper three times in a row. Draper did put up some resistance getting one of the breaks back, but it was not enough. It was a tighter start of the second set for the now 19-year-old, who celebrated his birthday yesterday with a win over Jay Clarke. He held Matusevich off twice before his persistence paid off with two straight breaks of his own, on his way to levelling the match.
Momentum shifted throughout the match tie-break but in the end Matusevich held firm on his own serve to share the top honours, as Draper picks up a point for winning one set on the way to a defeat.
Elsewhere Cameron Norrie made up for his slow start against Draper, and a tough loss against the resurgent Andy Murray to take advantage of a slightly less aggressive Dan Evans.
The British No. 1 was pipped to a break at the tail end of the first set but found himself on the back foot when he lost the opening game at the start of the second set. Norrie broke late again – showing what we saw in the summer with impressive movement throughout the match, before closing it out on a single match point.
Another player to have picked up some good match-time was Eden Silva who joined Watson at the top of the table at the start of the day, with a very solid win over Katy Dunne, winning three out of her four matches.
Jodie Burrage, who had been the star of the domestic circuit over the summer, closed out this pre-season sharpening tournament with a win in a feisty encounter with Naomi Broady, stepping in for Emma Raducanu for the last day of play.
There was also a win for Aidan McHugh, who beat reserve Jack Pinnington-Jones after Liam Broady pulled out with an injury.
That just left Watson to close out the proceedings in a tight affair with Fran Jones. The first set was a battle of nerves more than wills with five straight breaks of serve, before Jones held first and looked to have the upper hand over the British No. 2.
Watson broke to level for 5-5 and in the tie-break built up too strong a lead for Jones to respond. Momentum was firmly on Watson’s side as she broke Jones in the opening game of the second set.
Jones has shown that she has formidable weapons in her ground-strokes and has potential but even the smallest lapse of intensity against a top player will be telling, as Watson roared out into a 4-1 lead. Jones, struggling a little physically, hung tight but Watson concluded the week with four wins from four and along with everyone else has benefitted with the chance to get match-tightness ahead of the new season.