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Puig Ends Watson's Osaka Defense

Monica Puig ended Heather Watson's reign as Osaka champion with a 64 64 win on Monday.

Published October 07, 2013 12:01

Puig Ends Watson's Osaka Defense
Monica Puig

OSAKA, Japan - Monica Puig knocked out defending champion Heather Watson in the first round of HP Open on Monday.

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Breaks at the tail end of each set proved enough for No.8 seed Puig to notch up her 39th victory of the season, 64 64. Next up for the Puerto Rican is Japanese wildcard Kurumi Nara, who saw off Caroline Garcia, 63 62.

Watson, who 12 months ago in Osaka won her first WTA title, was left to rue several missed opportunities, most notably losing five games in a row after opening up a 3-0 lead at the start of the second set.

"I'm very happy with my performance today," Puig said afterwards. "Heather is defending champion and is such a tough player to face as she defends so well.

"It was close all the way and it's great to get the win and finish the match how I did."

Elsewhere, there was better news for the draw's other former champion, Samantha Stosur, a 64 62 winner over Johanna Larsson. Stosur won the tile at the Utsubo Tennis Center four years ago and, after an evenly contested opening set, ran away with the second, reeling off the final four games of the match.

Also advancing to the second round was Misaki Doi and the in-form Eugenie Bouchard.

Having started the year well outside the Top 100, Bouchard began the week at a career-high No.35 on the back of thirteen wins in her past eighteen matches. She continued this rich vein of form against Varvara Lepchenko, who she brushed aside, 63 60.

Doi was similarly untroubled, defeating Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, 61 62, to set up a second round meeting with evergreen compatriot Kimiko Date-Krumm or No.7 seed Laura Robson.

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