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Watson wins Japan Open, ends Brits' title drought

Photo: KIMIMASA MAYAMA/EPA

Heather Watson, shown here at the Pan Pacific Open, is the first British woman to win a WTA title since Sara Gomer in 1988.

OSAKA, Japan (AP) -- Heather Watson became the first British woman in 24 years to win a WTA title by beating Chang Kai-chen of Taiwan on Sunday in the final of the Japan Open.

Watson outlasted Chang 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (4) in 3 hours, 11 minutes to end the long drought for her country - just three weeks after Laura Robson became the first British woman in 22 years to even reach a WTA final.

Both Watson and Chang were appearing in their first career final and showed signs of nerves. Watson wasted a match point at 5-3 in the second set, then saved four when Chang led 5-4 in the third. The match featured 14 breaks of serve, including seven in the first set.

Watson's victory marked another milestone for British tennis, after Andy Murray finally broke a 76-year Grand Slam drought on the men's side by winning the U.S. Open this year.

The last British woman to win a WTA title was Sara Gomer in 1988.

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