HOUSTON, TX, USA - No.3 seed Heather Watson edged past lucky loser Reka-Luca Jani to reach her third WTA-level quarterfinal of the year at the Oracle Challenger Series Houston WTA 125K event.
Britain’s No.2 ranked player, who’s reached the semifinals in Hobart and Quebec City earlier this year, needed just over an hour and 15 minutes to defeat World No.321 Jani in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1.
Watson trailed by a break at 3-1 was facing three break points as Jani looked to get ahead a double break. But she quickly turned things around, reeling off the next four games in a row to lead 5-3. Things got a bit complicated as she went to serve it out - Jani broke back to stop the run of four straight games - but Watson was back on track a game later to close it out with confidence.
She kept up the momentum in the second, starting off with a 4-0 lead as the wind seemed to leave Jani’s sails. Watson quickly closed out the match, sealing the victory after an hour and 18 minutes on court.
Up next, she’ll face No.7 seed Sofya Zhuk in the quarterfinals. Zhuk advanced past Hungarian qualifier Dalma Galfi after she was forced to retire trailing 4-2 in the opening set, citing a back injury.
Joining them in the quarterfinals are No.4 seed Jessica Pegula and American qualifier Whitney Osuigwe. Pegula eased past Israel’s Deniz Khazaniuk 6-2, 6-1 to advance, while Osuigwe came back from a set down to stun the No.6 seed Varvara Lepchenko 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the day’s biggest upset.