Watson gets Hobart defence off to flying start


Heather Watson got her Hobart International title defence off to an impressive start by defeating Teliana Pereira in the first round.

The world number 53 produced seven aces and took all five of her break points to overcome the Brazilian - seven places above her in the world rankings - 6-3 6-0.

Eugenie Bouchard, continuing her return from injury, made light work of Bethanie Mattek-Sands to breeze into the second round.

The Canadian - a former world number five - dropped just three games to breeze into the second round, winning 6-2 6-1 in just over 57 minutes.

Fifth seed and 2015 runner-up Madison Brengle exited the tournament, retiring early in the second set of her meeting with Kiki Bertens - later citing a respiratory illness as the reason..

Mona Barthel served up six aces as she powered into the second round with a 6-4 6-4 win over Misaki Doi, while Monica Niculescu eliminated Christina McHale in straight sets 7-5 7-5.

Sixth seed Barbora Srtycova suffered a 6-4 6-4 elimination at the hands of Johanna Larsson, while Dominika Cibulkova won 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 in a gruelling two-set match against Johanna Konta which took 129 minutes.

Jarmila Wolfe was eliminated in three sets by Naomi Osaka, but another home hope Kimberly Birrell beat Danka Kovinic 6-4 6-3

Annika Beck, Nao Hibino and Veronica Cepede Royg also advanced with wins over Kurumi Nara, Pauline Parmentier and Laura Pous-Tio respectively.