Katie Boulter became the first-ever winner of The Progress Tour Women’s Championships after she fought back from a set down to beat Jodie Burrage 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2.
It has been a good return to action for the Brit, 23, who did not play any matches between 5 March and the start of this event on 14 July.
“I’m very happy to get the win,” Boulter 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.”
“Just to get my body through five matches is a huge bonus for me. That was my aim for this week and I felt like I’ve done that.”
The Brit continued, “She threw me a bone (when she failed to serve for the match at 6-5 in the second set). I got a little bit lucky and sometimes it happens like that and sometimes it doesn’t. Today it went my way, but she’s been playing some great tennis.”
Burrage makes excellent startEmbed from Getty Images
Burrage demonstrated the kind of confidence that comes with lots of recent victories as she cruised into a 3-0 lead over Boulter.
The Brit, 21, served well and hit some superb groundstrokes during the early games. Then, when her more experienced opponent dragged the score back to 3-2, Burrage responded well and broke Boulter to restore her two-game advantage.
From that point on, the younger Brit remained untroubled as she wrapped up the opening set while her opponent struggled to get going.
Boulter hangs tough despite a lack a rhythm
At the beginning of the second set, Burrage almost handed Boulter an early break when she went down 0-40 on her serve.
However, she ground out the hold and the next few games passed without many incidents. At 3-2 in front, the older Brit applied severe pressure to the World No.293’s serve and earned her first break of the match.
Disappointingly for Boulter, she then faltered on her own serve and allowed Burrage to break back immediately. The younger Brit then held to level the set at 4-4.
The older Brit’s lack of rhythm was strongly evident in game nine, as she followed a pattern of playing one good point and then one bad point to move the score along to deuce.Embed from Getty Images
At that stage, Boulter finally strung two high-quality points together when she twice outmanoeuvred Burrage in rallies before finishing the sequences with two winners – one a drop shot, the other a forehand pass.
In game eleven, the World No.293 seized what looked like the decisive break when she hit the ball deep repeatedly and induced a series of errors from her more experienced opponent.
However, Burrage failed to capitalise on this golden opportunity to serve for the match. She made a series of sloppy errors to enable Boulter to level the set at 6-6.
The tie-break hinged on a crucial shot from the World No.374. When she 2-3 down and the younger Brit was serving, Boulter hit a forehand winner which landed right on the sideline. This mini-break enabled her the older Brit to establish a 5-4 lead. Then she went on the attack. She hit a fearsome forehand that Burrage could not return and she induced an error to seal the set.
Boulter turns tide completely as Burrage fades
Unfortunately Burrage did not seem to have anything left to give in the deciding set. Three weeks of tennis caught up with her and she made a succession of unforced errors.
By contrast, Boulter looked very consistent from the back of the court. She barely made any errors in the set and this, coupled with her younger opponent’s erratic play, enabled the World No.374 to glide smoothly to victory by winning the set 6-2.