Boulter’s Experience Rewarded With Progress Tour Title

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Katie Boulter can chalk up her Progress Tour Women’s Championship title victory over Jodie Burrage to her experience. Although Boulter rarely had to play from behind during her week-long run to the title in Roehampton, England, she maintained her composure when she trailed early against Burrage on Saturday and was rewarded in a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory.

Down 3-0 to start the final, it took a little while for the 374th-ranked Boulter to find her range with her forehand returns and to steady her nerves in the blustery conditions. However, once she did, there was no turning back. Boulter came from a set and a break down and picked up enough momentum to level the match during the second set of the two hour and 12 minute final That was contested on a hard court at the LTA National Tennis Centre.

In the final set, Boulter took advantage of two breaks of Burrage’s serve, the second which rewarded the 23-year-old Leicester native with the match on her racquet. Promptly, Boulter’s seventh ace was bookended around three unforced errors by Burrage. The former World No. 82 and British Fed Cup member won on her first match point opportunity when Burrage netted a forehand return.

“Obviously, I’m very happy to get the win,” said Boulter. “There was some good tennis and some bad tennis. Sometimes, you just have to find your way. I’m very happy with the result.”

Boulter, who overcame four service breaks and outpointed Burrage 92-89, capitalized on five service breaks in eight tries against her 21-year-old opponent whom she defeated in straight sets two days earlier in group play. “I felt like I was struggling a little bit body-wise but I was tryin to push myself through and got a little bit lucky and kept the ball on the court,” she said. “Sometimes it happens. Today things went my way.” 

The loss was just the third for the 289th-ranked Burrage in her last 17 matches during this summer’s British Tour events. Two of them have come against Boulter this week. Boulter said during her post-match interview she feels if Burrage can maintain her consistency she could do well.

“If she keeps playing that way, she’s going to go very far,” said Boulter. “I’ve always thought Jodie’s a very good player. She’s starting to put it all together and it’s really nice to see.”

Boulter’s victory was the culmination of five consecutive wins in five days after being inactive for the past 19 weeks because of the coronavirus lockdown of pro tennis. “Just to get my body through five matches was a huge accomplishment for me,” she said. “That was my aim for the week.”

Earlier, in a breakthrough performance, 17-year-old Amelia Bissett defeated Erin Richardson, 19, 6-3, 6-2, to earn the Division One title. The clean-hitting Bissett, who is ranked No. 134 in the ITF rankings, won five straight matches to garner the title and did not drop any sets throughout the tournament.

The doubles title was won by Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls over Emily Arbuthnott and Anna Popescu, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

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Sofia Kenin won her showdown with Venus Williams 5-1 en route to leading the Philadelphia Freedoms to a 22-14 victory over the Washington Kastles in World TeamTennis play Saturday afternoon at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The Freedoms are 4-1 at the end of the first week of the WTT season.

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