Katie Boulter Wins The Progress Tour Women’s Championships While Burrage Impresses - UBITENNIS
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Katie Boulter Wins The Progress Tour Women’s Championships While Burrage Impresses

The Progress Tour Women’s Championships was due to feature Heather Watson, Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Jodie Burrage.

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Katie Boulter (@the_LTA on Twitter)

The Progress Tour Women’s Championships was due to feature five of the top eight female tennis players in Britain: Heather Watson, Katie Boulter (based on her protected ranking of 85), Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Jodie Burrage.

Unfortunately, Watson and Dart pulled out to injury on the eve of the tournament at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. Then Swan retired due to a hip problem in the second set of her opening match.

These withdrawals robbed the event of three of its most recognisable players, which probably made it harder to persuade members of the British public to tune in and watch it on BBC Sport’s online platform.

Despite this significant setback, those who did watch The Progress Tour Women’s Championships were treated to some excellent tennis – particularly from Boulter and Burrage.

Boulter makes strong return to action

When Watson and Dart withdrew, the pressure shifted to Boulter as she became the favourite to win the event.

However, it did not seem to affect at any point as she won all five of her matches to claim the title and maintained a calm demeanour on court throughout.

The sentiments Boulter expressed after she beat Burrage in the final may go some way to explaining why she was so composed.

“Just to get my body through five matches is a huge bonus for me,” the Brit said. “That was my aim for this week and I felt like I’ve done that.”

Understandably, Boulter prioritised improvement of her fitness and match sharpness above results. However, she was pleased to claim the title too.

“I’m very happy to get the win,” the Brit said in her on-court interview. “There’s been some good tennis and bad tennis, but sometimes you’ve just got to find a way and I felt like I did that today.”

Boulter v Burrage provides great entertainment

Jodie Burrage (@the_LTA on Twitter)

Arguably, Boulter produced her best tennis of the week during her final group match. In an entertaining encounter with Burrage, she won the first set 6-3 before holding off a superb fightback from her younger opponent to win the second set 7-6(5).

Before that, Boulter performed well during comfortable straight-sets wins over World No.797 Alice Gillan and World No.954 Emily Arbuthnott. And her steady improvement from match to match set her up well for the challenge of facing Burrage.

However, both Boulter and Burrage were suffering physically by the time the semi-finals came around. Consequently, their performances declined, and the Leicester-born Brit was unhappy with the way she played in her win over Freya Christie.

“I don’t think it was our best level,” Boulter said in her post-match interview. “I think I’m going to have to up my game tomorrow because that wasn’t very good. But I got the win so that’s all that counts.”

The final was a similar story. The Brit, 23, did not perform particularly well but she hung in and fought back to beat Burrage 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2. And, although Boulter did not play as well as she would have liked in her last two matches, it was still an excellent week for her.

Burrage hints at bright future

While Boulter is very familiar to British tennis fans, Burrage is far less well-known. However, that may soon be about to change because her performances at The Progress Tour Women’s Championships suggest she has a lot of potential.

The Brit, 21, started the week in ideal fashion as she showed off her full array of powerful groundstrokes during comprehensive straight-set wins over Arbuthnott and Gillan.

Burrage followed up those results with a superb display of hitting during the second set of her group match against Boulter. She led 3-0 and should have gone on to level the match. When she gains more experience, she will probably learn to do exactly that.

After the Brit beat World No.569 Alicia Barnett 6-4 6-2 in the last four, she then produced some more high-class tennis to put herself in a position to serve for championship at 6-3 6-5 up against Boulter in the final.

Although Burrage faltered once again and lost her serve as well as the match, she will have undoubtedly impressed those who watched her. If she continues to improve, she can look forward to a very bright future.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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Iga Looks To Be In A league All to Herself At Paris

Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth Roland Garros title in Paris.

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(@Eurosport - Twitter)

Just call her Iga. No other identification is needed.

As the years go by, Iga’s notoriety is sure to grow.

She’s probably already earned a spot in tennis’ Hall of Fame.

Yes, Iga Swiatek is a name to remember. A hero in her native Poland, a superstar in the world of sports.

IGA WAS JUST TOO GOOD

Iga just added to her stardom Saturday with an impressive 6-2, 6-1 victory over little-known Italian Jasmine Paolini to win her third straight French Open title. This was Paolini’s chance to make a name for herself, but she didn’t have the game to make it happen.

Iga was just too good. She made it look too easy.

Paolini could hit some great ground strokes, but when she looked up a bigger shot was on its way back. Iga doesn’t look like a power hitter, but she is.

WINNING 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES

The 23-year-old Polish Wonder finished the first set winning five straight games, then started the second set winning five more games in succession. The 28-year-old Paolini didn’t seem to have a clue on how to upend Swiatek.

It took just 78 minutes for Iga to win her fifth Grand Slam title.

She’s a lot like her French Open hero, Rafa Nadal.

She takes every match seriously.

SWIATEK OWNS THE RED CLAY

No wonder Iga owns a 35-2 record at Roland Garos. Or that she has won 21 straight matches. Or that she owns a 5-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

She only dominated opponents, except for Naomi Osaka in the second round. Swiatek escaped a match point in that one and didn’t look back.

Iga’s game should be just as superb on the green grass of upcoming Wimbledon.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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