Katie Boulter led the British charge at the LTA’s Viking Open Nottingham by defeating sixth seed Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.
I had no expectations coming into this week but I know the level that I’ve been putting in on the practice court day in and day out. I’ve been working super hard, putting in the effort and I really feel like it will eventually pay off. This week’s a start – I’ve got a long way to go yet but it’s a good result today Katie Boulter
On a strong day for British players at Nottingham Tennis Centre that saw singles wins for Boulter, Dan Evans and Heather Watson – along with multiple doubles triumphs – it was the 25-year-old who stole the show by defeating a player ranked more than 200 places above her.
Boulter showcased her quality right from the off, her powerful baseline game putting the World No.52 under serious pressure early on.
On Bouzkova’s second service game she attacked with a venomous forehand down the line for 0-30 and after her opponent landed a poorly timed forehand into the net, she had the first break.
The Czech came back with an instant reply, breaking Boulter to 15. But her woes on serve continued as Boulter broke once again.
The Brit’s ball striking rarely faltered, and with the chance to take a one-set lead she pounced on a short ball with a driven forehand down the line.
She stayed composed early in the second – a swift break to open was followed by a hold to love on serve for 2-0. She saved a break point with a punishing volley at 2-1 and got the decisive hold that would prove a pivotal moment in the match.
Bouzkova was clearly on the back foot and just about managed to stay in the match after saving four break points at 4-3.
But Boulter, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, remained fully in control and after an hour and 42 minutes, capped off an impressive performance with back-to-back games to complete a straight sets victory.
After the match Boulter said: “I had no expectations coming into this week but I know the level that I’ve been putting in on the practice court day in and day out. I’ve been working super hard, putting in the effort and I really feel like it will eventually pay off. This week’s a start – I’ve got a long way to go yet but it’s a good result today.
“It’s a privilege to have my family and grandparents in the stands here, and to have that bit of home support just means so much to me. I’m pretty sure the last time my grandparents watched me live was at the Copper Box (at the Fed Cup World Group II Play Off tie against Kazakhstan in April 2019), so for them to be here this week is huge.”
In the first match on Centre Court, Dan Evans came through a tough challenge against Matthew Ebden, beating the Australian 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) in nearly two hours.
Evans has now won four consecutive tie-breaks in the ATP Challenger Event and faces American Denis Kudla in the next round, after he defeated Liam Broady 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).
Also advancing to the next round is Heather Watson, who got the better of fellow Brit Tara Moore with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory. She faces Boulter in the third round tomorrow.
Despite winning the first set in the Court One sunshine this afternoon, Harriet Dart eventually lost out to Lauren Davis 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in just over two hours.
Completing a successful day for the Brits – Johanna Konta, Lloyd Glasspool, Jay Clarke, Sarah Beth Grey and Emily Webley-Smith all march on in the doubles draws.