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Battling Heather Watson secures hat-trick in Mexico

By Pat Smith

Heather Watson battled back from a set down to beat Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-2 6-3 in the final of the Abierto Monterrey Afirme in Mexico, the 23-year-old's third WTA title.

Flipkens took control early on to clinch the first set 6-3 but Watson hit back and took the second 6-2 before securing the deciding set in the $226,750 event.

Guernsey-born Watson - the current British number two behind Johanna Konta - beat Caroline Garcia to reach the decider, following on from her stunning success on Friday against former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

Watson had dropped to 84th in the rankings after a poor start to the year but produced a superb display to beat the second seed 7-5 6-4.

Flipkens defeated Anett Kontaveit in straight sets to reach the final.

Watson had lost her two previous meetings with 30-year-old Flipkens but managed to add to the titles she won in Japan (October 2012) and Hobart (January 2015).

The world number 73 had accounted for Konta in the quarter-finals.

The fourth seed fought back to take the second set but was blown away in the decider to lose 6-3 6-7 (2/7) 6-1.

Konta trailed 5-4 in the second but broke serve before easing through the tie-break. But Flipkens responded in style in the third set, racing into a 5-0 lead before triumphing 6-1.

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