Watson sinks US star Stephens and savours timely resurgence

 
Frank Dalleres
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The Briton beat Stephens in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals in Hobart
BRITAIN’S Heather Watson admits she is rediscovering her best form after stepping up preparations for next week’s Australian Open by claiming the scalp of four-time grand slam semi-finalist Sloane Stephens.

Watson swept past the American 6-3, 6-1 in just 64 minutes to reach the last eight of the Hobart International, where she is due to meet Italian Roberta Vinci tomorrow.

It followed another straight-sets win in the first round over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova and is a major boost as the 22-year-old Channel Islander prepares for the year’s first grand slam.

“I’m feeling good and I’m feeling confident after these first two matches,” said Watson, who is ranked 49th in the world.

“I had a tough draw in the first match and then Sloane in the second round, so I’m very pleased to get through those matches.

“I thought to myself, ‘no matter what happens in the match I’m going to stay aggressive from the first point to the last’, and I did that today.”