Indian Wells | Watson, Dart and Boulter qualify for main draw

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Britain’s Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Katie Boulter all qualified for the main draw at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Tuesday where they will join British No Emma Raducanu competing in the WTA 1000 tournament in the California desert.

This is incredible! I mean every single point I’m hearing chants from ‘O-H-I-O’ to ‘Let’s go Cincinnati!’ – stuff like that is super special to me, and I’m so grateful to you guys for coming out and sticking with all these long battles I’m having. Caty McNally

Watson the British No 2, came from behind to defeat Japan’s Mai Hontama, 4-6 6-2 6-1, while Dart overcame Anastasia Gasanova, 6-2 3-6 6-3, in a see-sawing match that featured 12 breaks of serve, and Boulter dispatched Italian veteran Sara Errani, 6-3 6-3.

Watson was one of the first women to complete her qualifying run as the World No 113 charged back from a set down on a bright, sunny afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The 29-year-old was facing a squall in the form of a red-hot Hontoma, the woman who knocked off the qualifying draw’s top seed, Belgium’s Greet Minnen, on Monday.

The 22-year-old Japanese carried that momentum through a set-plus against the Brit, clinching the opening set on a Watson unforced error before stomping out to a 2-0 lead in set two.

Watson, however, flipped the script in front of an enthusiastic crowd on Stadium 3, the former World No 38 reeling off 11 consecutive games as she landed the middle set and stormed out to a 5-0 lead in the decider before Hontama could get any traction.

The Japanese steadied herself to take the next game, but victory was the inevitable outcome for Watson, who takes her place in the main draw at Indian Wells for the 8th time.

Seven years ago, Watson, who is currently ranked 113, notched her first ever top-10 win in the California desert, defeating Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska en route to the round of 16, and she will hope to rekindle that form in the main draw where she takes on the Czech Tereza Martincova, ranked 42.

Dart, who is at her highest career WTA ranking of 122, plays Ana Konjuh, the World No 48 from Croatia, while Boulter, ranked 127, faces another Italian in Jasmine Paolini, who is the World No 46.

US Open champion and 11th seed Raducanu has a first-round bye at the event, and will face last week’s Lyon finalist Dayana Yastremska from Ukraine or France’s Caroline Garcia in the second round.


City McNally outlasted Kirsten Flipkens to qualify for the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells

© Graham Denholm/Getty Images

20-year old American Caty McNally needed 2 hours and 23-minutes to seal a 7-5 3-6 6-4 triumph over Belgian veteran Kirsten Flipkens, taking her 2-day tally of court time to 5 hours and 30 minutes, and making the main draw here for the second time.

“This is incredible,” McNally told the fans. “I mean every single point I’m hearing chants from “O-H-I-O” to “Let’s go Cincinnati!” – stuff like that is super special to me, and I’m so grateful to you guys for coming out and sticking with all these long battles I’m having.”

McNally, ranked 172, had to battle tooth-and-nail to get past the crafty former World No 13, winning 74.2 percent of her first-serve points and saving 3 of 7 break points.

France’s Harmony Tan fell behind Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic, losing the first set, but won 12 of the final 16 games to book her first main draw appearance at Indian Wells, 0-6 6-2 6-2.

Amongst other results, Australia’s Daria Saville defeated Magdalena Frech from France, 6-0 3-6 6-3, while China’s Wang Qiang upset 5th-seeded Anna Kalinskaya, 6-3 6-4, Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova took out Aussie Astra Sharma, 6-4 6-1, and Hungary’s Dalma Galfi defeated Lucia Bronzetti from Italy, 6-3 7-6(5).


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