Defending champion Heather Watson returns to the Hobart International in hopes to make it two consecutive titles at the Australian warmup event. The Brit will have to go through some stiff competition to lift up the title once again. Eugenie Bouchard, Dominika Cibulkova, Sloane Stephens, and Camila Giorgi are all set to try and dethrone the British number two.
Watson Lifts The Title
With the WTA International event kicking off just a week before the Australian Open, this event was looking to be used as a kick starter for something magical at Melbourne Park. The top seed was Australian Casey Dellacqua with Zarina Diyas as the second seed. This tournament was one for the upset with only three of the nine seeds making the quarterfinals.
Watson began her road to the final unseeded and was set to face fifth-seeded Sloane Stephens in the second round. The Brit stormed her way to the title, winning in straight sets in all five of her matches. Her most impressive victory was against Stephens, only dropping four games. Watson also defeated two other seeded players, ninth-seeded Roberta Vinci and eighth-seeded Alison Riske.
Bouchard Set To Play Three Consecutive Weeks
After weeks of speculation that Bouchard was unsure if she was going to play in Melbourne Park, it was confirmed by the tournament organizers that she will be playing at the tournament along with Serena Williams and Juan Martin del Potro who also have been injured. The Canadian is opening her season in Shenzhen as she tries to rebound in 2016 after a disappointing 2015.
The world number 49 has dropped over 40 spots from her career-high and played at the Hopman Cup this year meaning she has no points to defend between the beginning of the year and the Australian Open. After Shenzhen will be Hobart for the Canadian, followed by the Australian Open. The Hobart International is set to begin on January 11th with the winner earning 280 points ranking points.