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Rothesay International Eastbourne

Devonshire Park, Eastbourne 2025 dates TBC

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Katie Boulter roars in celebration in the first round of the Rothesay International Eastbourne
International

Rothesay International Eastbourne 2024: Katie Boulter & Emma Raducanu to join Harriet Dart in second round

• 3 MINUTE READ

British No.1 Katie Boulter and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu gave the British crowd plenty to cheer about on Tuesday as the Billie Jean King Cup teammates both secured straight sets wins at Devonshire Park.

Rothesay Open Nottingham champion Boulter made a blistering start against Petra Martic but had to see off three set points in the second set as she claimed a 6-1, 7-6(8) victory against the Croatian.

Meanwhile, Raducanu came back from a break down twice in the opening set to see off 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and 17 minutes.

Boulter and Raducanu are set for tough second round matches against former winner Jelena Ostapenko and world No.5 Jessica Pegula respectively. They join Harriet Dart in round two, who will take on Sofia Kenin tomorrow.

Boulter pushed past Martic in straight sets although the Croatian, who knocked the Brit out in the same round last year, did not make it easy.

She said: “That was a little stressful and a little bit more dramatic than I hoped it would be but I played a tie-break a couple of weeks ago which I didn’t come on the winning end of.

“It was super tight and it was in the back of my head when I was playing that one.

“I was just very happy to be through that, I know Petra very well. I lost to her on these courts last year.

“For me to play her again, it’s a little bit of deja vu but this time I got on the winning end so I’m happy.

“I just wanted it to finish as quickly as possible, she’s a fighter, she fights until the end and she makes it so hard for you.”

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Last week, Boulter dropped out of the Rothesay Classic Birmingham and later admitted she was playing through illness but she was back fighting fit on the south coast.

With a place in Wimbledon’s main draw confirmed last week, Boulter believes she has ‘nothing to lose’ in the last 16 against fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko.

“I’m just really happy to be here in Eastbourne, I absolutely love coming back here, even though I see a lot of seagulls when I’m serving but I do enjoy being down here when the sunshine is out so there’s a smile on my face always.

“I’ve got nothing to lose this week, it’s a fantastic week to come out here and play in front of you guys and get some more practice on the grass courts because we always need it.”

Raducanu is currently ranked 168th in the world following time off court through wrist and ankle operations last year.

The Bromley ace enjoyed an encouraging run to the semi-finals of the Rothesay Open Nottingham and insists she has found her spark on the surface.

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She said: “For me, it was a case of adapting to the court, I’ve never played in Eastbourne, I've never played on this Centre Court.

“Every court plays a little bit differently and, in the beginning, I was just figuring out which is the best way for me to play and use my game.

“It was a very close first set and I was down quite a bit and managed to break but it was difficult because Sloane is super athletic and in the first set especially she was making a lot of balls.

“It took a lot to try and hit through her and I think I managed to figure it out in the second set.

“I could really hear the crowd and feel it. It’s a lot bigger court than in Nottingham so it’s really nice to see so many people out there in the heat.

“I really like it here, the weather especially is beautiful so I’m going to make the most of that.”

Raducanu missed the French Open this summer but is feeling back to her best after a win in Eastbourne and will look for a repeat win against Pegula, who won her first grass-court title at the Berlin Open last week.

Last week, Raducanu was awarded a Wimbledon singles wild card and will take to the main draw alongside Boulter and Dart.

She added: “The case is just recovering, I managed to figure out how to play on these courts.

“The balls get really heavy here so it’s a case of trying to hit through, get the ball speed up and getting ready to go tomorrow.”

Follow all the results and updates from the Rothesay International Eastbourne

This article was co-written by Abi Curran at SportsBeat.

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