Rothesay Open Nottingham 2023: Friends turn opponents as Katie Boulter & Jodie Burrage prepare to face each other in singles final
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There will be a guaranteed British women’s singles champion this year at the Rothesay Open Nottingham as Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage do battle to become only the third Brit to lift the Elena Baltacha trophy
Boulter and Burrage will be looking to join Baltacha (2010, 2011 & 2013) and Johanna Konta (2021) as the latest name to win the title as they look set to compete in the first WTA final between two Brits since Sue Barker and Virginia Wade at San Francisco back in 1977.
Two players and two friends with similar aggressive playing styles, Sunday’s final promises to be one of the matches of the summer.
Residing just up the road in Leicester, Boulter’s Rothesay Open Nottingham final dream came true off the back of two wins in the quarters and semi-finals against fellow Brits Harriet Dart and Heather Watson. Boulter came from 4-1 down in the second set to seal an impressive 6-3, 7-5 win over Watson, with the British No.1 in outstanding form on the grass.
“I knew how crucial that game would be (at 4-1 in the second set) and that’s why I was trying so hard to hold on,” Boulter said in her post match press conference. “She was playing some incredible tennis at that point and was really smart in what she was doing. I just had to stay strong and try and hope to get through the game and get new balls as well.
“I’ve got all the feelings right now. I feel like I’ve really worked for this, it’s not something that I’ve just been given and I feel proud of myself for that. I haven’t had many of these moments and that makes this extra special and hopefully I’m not done yet.
“I’m hungry for more, I’m hungry to go play Birmingham, I’m hungry for the tournaments after that, I don’t want to stop, I’ve got more to come."
With two Brits in the final and a record four into a WTA quarter-final earlier this week, the British women have been the story of the tournament here in Nottingham and the players are backing each other all the way.
“Seeing everyone do well means everything to all of us,” Boulter said. “I think that’s why we’re such a good group. I hope we can continue to do that and I don’t doubt that we will as we all play really well on grass. There’s a lot more to come from all of us.”
Burrage was out second on Centre Court this afternoon with a tough match against Alize Cornet – who had previously defeated Lexus Surbiton Trophy runner-up Katie Swan and top seed Maria Sakkari in the previous rounds.
In a similar theme to her previous matches, Burrage found her form just in the right moments of the match – clinching two crucial breaks in the penultimate games of both sets to win 7-5, 7-5.
“Obviously I feel really good,” Burrage said with a big smile on her face. “I didn’t expect this at the start of the week. I’m really happy to have put a good level out there and reach my first WTA final.
“I didn’t play my best in the first match but then I think each match I’ve just got better and better. Each match has had different challenges and I’ve had to fight through every one and hold my nerve doing that.”
Burrage faced Boulter in the final of the W60 Canberra earlier this year where she lost out to her compatriot – however, she believes that playing against one of her friends could play into her hands in one of the biggest matches of her career so far.
“It’s really good isn’t it (two Brits in the final) – it’s really positive for British women’s tennis,” she said.
“It will be nice going out there and playing a friend. We played at the start of the year and it was a good match and I’m sure it will be tomorrow. I think it will be nice playing the final with a friendly face down the other end, sometimes it can be a bit nerve wracking, but I think it will be good.”
Andy Murray will also feature on Centre Court tomorrow as he takes on 20-year-old Arthur Cazaux in the men’s singles final, in a bid to win his second successive Challenger title.
The British finals day will be complete with Dart and Watson facing Ulrikke Eikeri and Ingrid Neel in their first final together.