By Mark Hodgkinson in New York: Published: 9:56PM BST 13 Sep 2009
There may have only been a couple of hundred spectators standing or sitting around Court Seven at Flushing Meadows, but it was a significant occasion for British tennis, with Watson, a teenager from Guernsey, becoming the first British girl to win the junior version of the US Open. Watson’s victory showed that Laura Robson is not the only young talented British female with genuine hopes of going on to become a top-100 player in the women’s game.
In the final, the 17-year-old dropped just five games against Yana Buchina, the Russian who had beaten Robson in the semi-final. The only other British player to have won a junior title here is Andy Murray, who was the boys’ champion five years ago.
Ever since Robson won last year’s junior Wimbledon title, the focus has almost all been on the Londoner, rather than on the girl from the Channel Islands, whose father Ian runs the Guernsey electricity company, and whose mother Michelle is originally from Papua New Guinea.
But that may change after Watson’s 6-4, 6-1 victory. Watson’s surge to the trophy has been impressive, as she conceded a total of just 11 games in her quarter-final, semi-final and final.
In the first set, the match was held up for several minutes because of a slippery baseline on the court, with water seeping back on to the surface from hairline cracks in the court. Watson came from a break down to win that set, and dominated the second.
“When I won, I hadn’t realized I’d won. I thought, ‘Oh, I won the match.’ And then I put my racquet down, and it finally began to sink in. It feels great,” she said.
“I think I’m the first British junior to win the girls and Andy Murray won the boys about five years ago. I’m really proud of myself.”
Asked if she had been inspired by Robson’s win at Wimbledon last year Watson replied: “Definitely. She’s doing really well at a very young age.
“It would have been good to have an all British final, but she had it tough yesterday.
“It’s really good for British tennis, and we’re starting to come through.”