Katie Boulter could become the British number three tomorrow if she defeats Australian top seed Ashleigh Barty at the Nature Valley Nottingham Open .
After another impressive display on the grass against Sam Stosur today, Boulter continues to show us how she’s progressed in the last year. Despite suffering an agonising defeat on her Wimbledon debut last season, Boulter has been in excellent and consistent form, winning her biggest title to date in Fukuoka in May.
In Nottingham, she has been getting better and better and put out an assured performance against the former US Open champion. Serving a total of 17 aces in her opening two matches, Boulter can play knowing there is no pressure on Centre Court tomorrow.
In Ashleigh Barty, she faces one of the game’s rising stars and will have to play faultless tennis if she is going to continue her fantastic run. The Australian reached the final of the Birmingham Classic last year and has been in fine form on the grass, easing her way through to the quarter-finals.
Konta continues bid for maiden 2018 title
After defeating Heather Watson today, Jo Konta admitted she was a little fortunate, especially in the second set. Trailing 4-1, Konta overcame her fellow Brit and forced a tie-break before taking the match. Konta’s win sets up a clash with Dalila Jakupovic, who eliminated Magdalena Frech on Wednesday.
Little is known of the Slovenian, but the 27 year-old is having a good year. Having won both the singles and doubles titles in a $60,000 ITF event in Canberra, Jakupovic will be looking to maintain her 100% record against Brits this year after beating Gabi Taylor (Canberra) and Naomi Broady (French Open doubles).
Konta will be confident of reaching the semi-finals where she could set up a repeat of last year’s final. Defending champion Donna Vekic will take on Mona Barthel, who surprised Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova.
Evans and Ward aim for semi-finals
In the men’s ATP Challenger event, Dan Evans and James Ward will be looking to reach the semi-finals in Nottingham. Evans takes on qualifier Brayden Schnur in the opening match on Court 1 and will be considered hot favourite as he looks to continue his impressive grass court form.
James Ward, who recovered from a set and a break to eliminate Marc Polmans today, faces fourth seed Ilya Ivashka. Ward continues to show that he’s deserving of another Wimbledon wild card, and hit ten aces in a match that lasted over two hours. His Belarusian opponent also needed three sets today for the second consecutive match, so Ward can feel optimistic ahead of tomorrow’s play.
In the doubles, there will be a guaranteed British finalist as Ken and Neal Skupski take on Freddie Nielsen and Joe Salisbury in the semi-finals. The Skupskis were beaten finalists at the Surbiton Trophy last week as they look to cement their position inside the world’s top 50.
Harriet Dart sole British survivor in Manchester
Harriet Dart will be looking to make it consecutive $100,000 ITF semi-finals tomorrow when she faces Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure. Dart stunned second seed, and top 100 player, Luksika Kumkhum today 3-6 6-2 6-1, as British journalists start to take more notice of her exciting form.
Victory tomorrow will see Dart overtake Gabi Taylor in the rankings and continues to show how much prospective talent there is in British women’s tennis. This form should also guarantee Dart a Wimbledon wild card, two years after her heartbreaking final qualifying round defeat to Ekaterina Alexandrova.
However, Sarah Beth Grey wasn’t able to make it two Britons in the quarter-finals after she lost to Ons Jabeur 6-4 6-2. Gray also lost with partner Olivia Nicholls in the doubles quarter-finals to third seeds Jamie Loeb and An-Sophie Mestach. They will now face Naomi Broady and Asia Muhammad, whilst Katy Dunne and Harriet Dart will contest in the second semi-final against Luksika KumKhum and Prarthana Thombare.