Heather Watson beats Sloane Stephens in Estoril qualifier

Heather Watson

British number three Heather Watson came through a hard-fought encounter with American Sloane Stephens to reach the main draw in Estoril, Portugal.

Watson needed two hours and 33 minutes to defeat fellow 19-year-old Stephens 4-6 6-4 6-2 at the clay-court event.

The Guernsey-born player had already won two matches to set up the final-round qualifying match.

British number one Elena Baltacha will play second seed Maria Kirilenko in the first round later this week.

British number two Anne Keothavong made an early exit at the Budapest Grand Prix.

Keothavong looked on course for a victory after levelling at one set all against Klara Zakopalova, but the 30-year-old Czech dominated the decider to win the first-round clash 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2.

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