More disappointment for the £30,000 Progress Tour Women’s Championship on the first day of play at the NTC in Roehampton, as Katie Swan added her name to the list of injured players.
I want to be back playing how I was, but the reality is I am going to be a bit rusty, and I have to keep focused and keep battling away until I find my rhythm. Katie Boulter
Swan, the British number six, was forced to retire in her opening Elena Baltacha Group match with hip injury to join Heather Watson and Harriet Dart on the injured list when leading 6-4 1-4.
Swan, at 254 the highest ranked player in the event, only recently returned from the US and was competing for the first time since March.
She received medical attention twice during the second set and was visibly upset as she left the court.
Katie Boulter, ranked 374 in the world, is now clear favourite for the £6000 winner’s cheque after opening her challenge in the Anne Keothavong Group with a straightforward 6-1 6-4 win over Alice Gillan.
“It was tough conditions but I found a way to win and that is what counts,” she told BBC Sport.
“It was really nice to be back out there,” Boulter said after playing her first competitive match for 19 weeks.
“It’s been a mix of emotions. I want to be back playing how I was, but the reality is I am going to be a bit rusty, and I have to keep focused and keep battling away until I find my rhythm.”
The event – in which players call their own lines and collect balls under coronavirus restrictions – consists of two four-player pools before a semi-final knock-out stage.
The other match in the Baltacha Group saw Freya Christie fight back in a deciding set to beat Maia Lumsden 6-3 2-6 6-3 while Jodie-Anna Burrage posted a 6-2 6-3 win over Emily Arbuthnott in Group Keothavong.
“I’ve played 12 singles matches in 13 days” Burrage said following her victory. “I was feeling it in my legs this morning, but my body is holding up fine.”
Burrage and Christie, who are also partnering up for the doubles, have been competing at the St Georges Hill event in Weybridge prior to this week, arrived at the NTC after contesting the SGH Tennis Series final last Sunday which Burrage claimed.
“Honestly it’s been so good, the last two weeks,” said Burrage. “It’s been pretty full-on, but I put in the hard work during lockdown, and now it’s paying off on court.”
Meanwhile in Division 1 Amelia Bissett beat Esther Adeshina 6-1 6-1 and Sasha Hill defeated Nell Miller 6-4 4-6 6-3 in the Annabel Croft Group while Erin Richardson romped through her opener in the Sam Smith Group, to secure a 6-2 6-1 win over Danielle Daley as did Olivia Nichols in her 6-3 6-1 defeat of Victoria Allen.