Nottingham | Raducanu and Boulter poised overnight

The Rothesday Open in Nottingham has had to contend with an on-off schedule due to wet weather all week as it tries to complete the WTA 250 event on time, but it was bad light that suspended the all-British semi-final between Emma Raducanu and Katie Boulter on Saturday evening.

With Emma, we know what she’s capable of. She plays very well on a grass court – she plays very well on every court to be fair. It’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be a fight, but that’s the fun of it. Whatever happens it’s a great week for both of us. Katie Boulter

Earlier in the day Raducanu received a walk-over from another Brit, Fran Jones, who withdrew because of a shoulder injury in the quarter-finals, sending the 21-year old into the Last 4 to face Boulter, the British No 1.

Jones, a wild-card entry into the main draw, had defeated a pair of Americans, Caroline Dolehide and Ashlyn Krueger, to make the Last 8, and will see her ranking rise from 249 to 230 next week as a result of her good run.

The British No 7 was on court on Friday afternoon ready to play Raducanu before rain forced play to be abandoned for the day, and she woke up on Saturday and chose to pull out.

“Unfortunately, today I’ve had to withdraw from what was an exciting match with Emma,” Jones said in a statement. “I’m not in a position to be taking any risks, especially with my last couple of years.

“I think it’s a massive shame, I’ve really enjoyed playing this week and I’ve played at a good level, but I need to continue to think big picture which has got me into the place I’m in so far this year.”

Had the quarter-final contest between Raducanu and Jones gone ahead, the winner would have had to play two matches in a day.

By reaching the semi-finals, Raducanu has climbed 45 places in the live WTA Rankings to a position of World No 164, having entered this week at 209, and she could climb as high as 127 if she wins the title in Nottingham, while a runner-up result would move her up to 143 as things stand.

Defending champion Katie Boulter had 3 set points but could not convert against Emma Raducanu in a Last 4 match to be completed on Sunday

© Nathan Stirk/Getty Images for LTA

Raducanu and Boulter locked horns late in the afternoon in their first meeting on the WTA Tour, and Following her 6-2 6-4 quarter-final win over Poland’s Magdalena Frech on Friday, the British No 1 discussed the prospect of facing the former World No 10.

“With Emma, we know what she’s capable of,” said the 27-year-old from nearby Leicester. “She plays very well on a grass court – she plays very well on every court to be fair.

“It’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be a fight, but that’s the fun of it. Whatever happens it’s a great week for both of us.”

Boulter is the defending champion in Nottingham, having won her maiden WTA title at the grass-court event  here last year, and has, since then added her second tour-level crown at the San Diego Open in March.

They spent most of the day waiting to get on court after rain again caused havoc with the schedule, but after finally getting started just after 6.30pm they could only manage one set before darkness set in.

It was Raducanu who edged in front via a marathon tiebreak, winning 7-6(13) in 79 minutes, to leave her one set away from a first final since her 2021 US Open title run as a qualifier.

The 21-year-old went toe-to-toe with Boulter, who is now in the Top 30 of the world rankings, and both saved break points in the middle of the opener when it became apparent the set would be decided by a tiebreak.

Raducanu went down 1-3 in the breaker and slipped behind the baseline, jarring her left knee.

The initially called for the physio, but then decided to continue without the medical attention, and went on to win the next 3 points.

It all hung in the balance as the outcome swung both ways in an enthralling 10-minute contest during which they both squandered set points.

Boulter let her 4-1 slip, and managed to blow her 3 set points, as Raducanu clawed her way back and eventually took the first set, 15-13, on her 6th chance with 2 consecutive smashes after an hour and 20 minutes of enthralling play.

After winning the set, Raducanu approached the umpire to advise that the court was too wet for play to continue, and, after tournament referee Jane Harvet came out to check the light and conditions, the match was suspended.

Emma Raducanu called for the semi-final to be suspended because of the poor light and damp conditions in Nottingham on Saturday evening

© Nathan Stirk/Getty Images for LTA

The chaotic impact on the schedule means that both semi-finals and the final of the tournament will be decided on Sunday.

So Boulter and Raducanu will have a lot to think about overnight, as they unwind and recover from their dramatic 80-minute opening set.

The suspension also cancelled the second semi-final between former World No 1 Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic, the 6th seed, and unseeded Diane Parry from France.

Parry advanced to her first grass-court semi-final with little drama, the 21-year-old having not lost a set in Nottingham as she got past Australia’s Kimberly Birrell, 6-3 7-6(4) in 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Former World No 1 Karolina Pliskova upset Ons Jabeur, the top seed, in the quarter-finals at Nottingham

© Nathan Stirk/Getty Images for LTA

After rain delayed the start of play, Pliskova advanced to her 3rd semi-final of the season with a gritty display to topple No 1 seed Ons Jabeur from Tunisia, 7-6(8) 6-7(3) 7-5, in a hard-fought contest.

Jabeur has been the losing finalist at Wimbledon for both of the last 2 years, and had come through the draw relatively unscathed until she met Pliskova in the toughest of matches.

Quarter-final finishes at the French Open and the Madrid Open are the best performances of Jabeur’s season so far, with the 29-year-old now ranked at No 10 as her relative loss of form due to a knee injury has seen her fall from her career high of 2 back in 2022.

Pliskova is a hugely accomplished player in her own right, as a runner-up at Wimbledon in 2021, plus she also has won the title here in Nottingham, in 2016.

The 32-year-old won her first tournament in 4 years in February at the Transylvania Open, and has returned to the Top 50 in the world.

The two went toe-to-toe with little to separate them throughout their quarter-final encounter, with Jabeur starting brightly to win the first game and displaying impressive mobility, but the opener eventually went the way of the Czech, who edged an epic breaker, 10-8, helped by a return that clipped the net and left the Tunisian stranded.

Pliskova looked to be on the cusp of the win, leading 6-5 in the second set, with the pressure on Jabeur to stay in the match, when rain stopped play yet again, and, after a lengthy delay, the Tunisian returned to force another tiebreak, which she claimed with a drop-shot winner at set point to set up the decider.

Jabeur continued her momentum into the third, recovering to break back and move 4-3 ahead with another tiebreak looming, but, at 5-5 Pliskova broke her and claimed 2 games in a row to earn a hard-fought win as she moved into the Last 4.

It will be a first-time meeting between Pliskova and Parry, with the Czech playing her first grass-court semi-final since the 2021 Wimbledon final.

Unseeded Diane Parry is a surprise semi-finalist to meet Karolina Pliskova on Sunday, with the winner due to play the final later in the day

© Nathan Stirk/Getty Images for LTA



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