Boulter, Burrage Win – And That’s What Counts

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Favorite Katie Boulter has stood firm and reached the finals of the Progress Tour Women’s Championships in Roehampton, England. The former World No. 82 from Leicester, whose ranking dipped to No. 374 while recovering from a spinal stress injury that kept her out of action much of last year, defeated her best friend, No. 643 Freya Christie, 6-3, 7-6 (5), in a semifinal played under sunny but blustery conditions at the National Tennis Centre Friday.

Boulter, 23, has yet to drop a set in four matches this week in her first competition in 19 weeks due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Next, she will face No. 289 Jodie Burrage in Saturday’s championship match. Burrage, 21, advanced over No. 569 Alicia Barnett, 6-4, 6-2.

In a battle of big hitters, Boulter broke Christie’s serve twice in the first set, including in a deciding 14-point ninth game, and secured the set on her fourth set-point try. Then, she recovered from a break down at 1-3 and broke Christie to level the second set at 5-all. Finally, Boulter overcame a 4-2 deficit in the tie-break to win 7-5.

“I can’t say it was our best level – we’ve definitely had better days, both of us,” said Boulter during a post-match interview with BBC Sport. “I think I’m going to up my game tomorrow because it wasn’t very good. But I got the win (today) and that’s what counts. 

“I’ll take any win I can get right now. I’ve been working really hard even when there’s been bad days. I think I’m just going to put everything on the line and just enjoy it.”

Burrage broke Barnett’s serve to lead 5-4 and then won six of the next eight games to sew up her semifinal victory. In the month of July, Burrage has won 13 of 15 matches and has won a couple of minor tournaments. “I’m feeling it now, so happy to be in the final but it’s all catching up to me,” she said, interviewed by BBC Sport after her win. “I can’t really complain. I’ve got one more day (Saturday).”

Although the British No. 7 Burrage is the highest-ranked player in the draw, Boulter is a former British No. 2 who has Grand Slam main draw and Fed Cup experience. Boulter beat Burrage in group play Thursday, 6-3, 7-6 (5). “We had a good match (Thursday),” said Burrage. “Hopefully, we can both play a good level. I’m hoping for a different outcome.”

Saturday’s final day will be streamed on the LTA website (LTA.org.uk) starting from 11 a.m. BST (Noon CEST).

Sloane Stephens set for Top Seed Open

World No. 37 Sloane Stephens of the U.S., who won the 2017 US Open women’s singles title, has joined World No. 9 Serena Williams in the draw for the WTA Tour’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky. The WTA International event begins on August 10, three weeks before the start of the US Open.

Venus Williams makes WTT season debut

Former World No. 1 Venus Williams, who turned 40 earlier this year, has a long history of playing World TeamTennis for the Washington Kastles. She’s back for her 15th year of WTT play and ninth with the Kastles. On Friday, Williams made her season debut playing women’s doubles with Arina Rodionova against the Philadelphia Freedoms. They lost 5-4 to Taylor Townsend and Caroline Dolehide but Williams maintained a loose and happy attitude during her time on court. She returned later as a substitute in mixed doubles. Philadelphia won over Washington 25-17.

Kim Clijsters having fun – keeps on winning, too

Kim Clijsters, who came out of retirement for the second time in her Hall of Fame career earlier this year, is off to a 4-0 start in World TeamTennis singles for the New York Empire this week. After wins against Bernarda Pera (5-2), Sofia Kenin (5-3) and Danielle Collins (5-4) earlier this week, Clijsters beat Sloane Stephens of the Chicago Smash, 5-2, at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on Friday afternoon. Clijsters also saw action in mixed doubles and subbed in during women’s doubles, too. Chicago beat New York 22-21.

A few minutes with WTT CEO Carlos Silva

Tennis in an airport hangar? Yes, in Berlin.

Tennis Hall of Fame: Can’t wait until next year

What they’re sharing on social media

Petra Kvitova / Caption this …

Lesia Tsurenko / A new tennis hat … 

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