Heather Watson saved four match points before beating Magda Linette in a gruelling contest to continue her excellent run at the Tianjin Open.

The British No 2 is through to her first WTA Tour semi-final in more than a year after surviving a topsy-turvy contest to prevail 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) in three hours and two minutes.

This has been by far the best week of a generally miserable season for Watson and the victory ensures she will return to the top 100 next week.

Watson’s second-round victory over second-seed Wang Qiang was her most impressive for more than two years and in Linette she faced a player who has had a fine season.

The Pole won her first WTA title in New York in August and reached the final in Seoul last month, while in Beijing last week she lost just three games to Watson in a qualifying match.

The British player showed her fortitude and fitness on court The British player showed her fortitude and fitness on court The British player showed her fortitude and fitness on court

Having won the last five games of the first set, Watson had a match point when serving at 5-3 in the second but Linette saved it and levelled the contest.