Elise Mertens is bidding to win her second consecutive title in Hobart

Elise Mertens is bidding to win her second consecutive title in Hobart

Defending champion Elise Mertens beat 2015 champion Heather Watson 6-4 1-6 6-2 to reach the final at the Hobart WTA International tournament for the second consecutive year. The Belgian player is bidding to become the first player to win the Hobart title for the second time in the history of this tournament. She will face Romanian surprising player Mihaela Buzarnescu, who beat Lesla Tsurenko 6-2 6-2 to reach her first WTA final.

Mertens needed just one break on her first opportunity in the fourth game for 3-1 to clinch a tight first set which featured eight deuce games. Watson earned her first break point with a lob in the second set and converted her chance to start a streak of five consecutive games. Watson hit a drop-shot to win the second set. The British player was the first player to win a set against Mertens in her two-year-run at this tournament.

Watson earned a break point chance at the start of the third set but Mertens saved ita s the Brit misefired a forehand. Mertens reeled off five of the last six games to secure her spot in the final.

Mertens is bidding to become the first player in the history of this tournament to win this title for the second time.

“I tried to play a bit more aggressive in the third set and make her run a little bit more. She was dictating me in the second set, all credits to her. She played an amazing match”, said Mertens.

In Saturday’s final Mertens will face Romanian unseeded player Mihaela Buzarnescu, who broke five times to ease past number 5 seed Lesla Tsurenko 6-2 6-2 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Buzarnescu will play in her first WTA final after a perfect week in which she did not drop a set. She was ranked world number 541 in January 2017 and after a successful season in the ITF circuit she will break into the top 50 next week.

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