British No 1 Katie Boulter battles from a set down to beat China’s Wang Yafan and reach third round of US Open for the first time, while Jodie Burrage is beaten by No 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka
- Katie Boulter is through to the US Open third round for the first time after victory
- The British No 1 produced a gutsy performance to beat the in-form Wang Yafan
- Jodie Burrage lost 6-3 6-2 to the number two seed, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus
Katie Boulter comes from a village in Leicestershire but has never felt more at home in the teeming metropolis of New York.
‘I’m absolutely loving it here,’ declared the British number one after making it to the third round of the US Open by putting an early win on the board on another busy day for the British contingent at Flushing Meadows.
Facing Chinese qualifier Wang Yafan, she was edgy early on before coming back to win 5-7 6-1 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes amid rush hour on the outside courts.
Knowing that the world number 114 presented an excellent chance for her to consolidate on her grass court performances this summer she was initially edgy, and spurned three set points at 5-4 in the opener before bringing her greater weight of shot to bear in a tense denouement.
With Emma Raducanu absent, by mid-afternoon she was the last British woman left in the singles main draw, with Jodie Burrage falling 6-3 6-2 to the number two seed, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Katie Boulter is through to the US Open third round for the first time after victory on Thursday
The British No 1 produced a gutsy performance to beat the in form Wang Yafan 5-7 6-1 6-4
‘I’m super happy with today, very proud of myself and I had to dig really deep for that,’ said Boulter. ‘I had those set points in the first and didn’t manage to convert and she played some good tennis and I had to battle., she doesn’t make it easy for you.
‘I was pleased with my resilience. Tactically I was trying to be very aggressive and I got a bit tight in the first set but I managed to bounce back and loosen up after that. The atmosphere was great today and the crowd help get me over the line.’
This is now the second consecutive Grand Slam in which Boulter has reached the third round, and it is symbolic of her progress that this compares to her being knocked out of the qualifying second round in the first two of them this year.
There is now the chance for her to make the second week as her next opponent will be Peyton Stearns, the 21 year-old American currently ranked one place above her at 59 in the world. Boulter is already guaranteed to be on the cusp of the top fifty after this, and will cement her place within that bracket if she can get the win.
The Chinese player was on a run of eleven straight victories, the kind of player always liable to provide a proper test with her agile coverage of the baseline and consistent groundstroking.
The sense with Boulter is that there are considerably better things to come in the future
Meanwhile, Jodie Burrage lost 6-3 6-2 to the number two seed, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus
It was getting to Boulter by late in the first set, to the point where she lived dangerously with an unusually petulant loss of temper.
In the ninth game she swiped at a ball when facing the stand behind the baseline and hit it upwards. There was no great malice intended but she was fortunate that it landed in the camera gantry which had the crowd seated either side. If the ball had struck a spectator then she could have been faced with a default, rather than the code violation for ball abuse which was handed out.
Boulter’s serve improved in the second set, but the decider could have gone either way and she faced two break points at 4-4. After breaking for 5-4 she stepped forward, but sent down two double faults and a couple of wild forehands in a jumble of a final game. She finally clinched it by opening the court to use a forehand which very much belongs in the higher echelons of the game.
She won just minutes after Jack Draper went through across the complex. The sense with both of them is that there are considerably better things to come.
The same could be said, albeit perhaps to a lesser extent, of Burrage, who was predictably outmatched by the powerful Australian Open champion on the huge Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Facing the highest ranked player she has ever done, she was not overwhelmed and hung in well to make it respectably competitive. As with her fellow first round winner Lily Miyazaki this week will have been a valuable learning experience, and she has shown enough to suggest that she will be able to get into more Grand Slam main draw without the need for a wildcard.