Katie Boulter beats Magdalena Frech to keep Rothesay Open title defence on track

Boulter set up an all-British semi-final against either Emma Raducanu or Francesca Jones.

Eleanor Crooks
Friday 14 June 2024 22:59 BST
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Katie Boulter clenches her fist during her match against Magdalena Frech (Mike Egerton/PA)
Katie Boulter clenches her fist during her match against Magdalena Frech (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Defending champion Katie Boulter guaranteed there will be a British finalist at the Rothesay Open in Nottingham again after defeating Magdalena Frech in a rain-hit contest.

The British number one, who won her first WTA Tour title in her home event 12 months ago, defeated her Polish opponent 6-2 6-4 to reach the semi-finals.

There she will take on either Emma Raducanu or compatriot Francesca Jones, who needed only four points to complete a 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory over American Ashlyn Krueger earlier on Friday.

Jones had had to wait nearly 24 hours to get back on court after rain arrived while she was serving for the match on Thursday, with further inclement weather delaying the start of play on Friday.

More rain then forced a lengthy stoppage with 27-year-old Boulter leading Frech 4-2, but the Leicestershire star finished off the first set before recovering from a break down in the second.

“The first set I thought there was some really good tennis from me, some of the best I’ve played,” said Boulter in an on-court interview.

“I’m slowly building some momentum. I’m just really happy to get through today. I can see a rain cloud coming so I just wanted to finish it off as quickly as possible. I can’t do any more rain delays.

“It’s absolutely awesome to see a lot of Brits doing really well. Last year was myself and Jodie (Burrage) in the final. I played Hev (Heather Watson) in the semis, Harriet (Dart) in the quarters, so I think we’re in a really good place.”

Earlier, Jones punched the air in delight after saving a break point and then winning three in a row to book a place in her second WTA Tour quarter-final and first on home soil.

The 23-year-old said: “I think that was a more excruciating wait than when Man United were 2-1 up against Man City at the end of the FA Cup final.

“Definitely testing my worst attribute, which is my patience. I’ve heard a lot of jokes. Ons (Jabeur) was telling me to serve two aces, but I put first serves in so we’ll take it.”

Due to rain delays, Jones will now take on Raducanu on Saturday, with the pair having become close friends since being part of the same Billie Jean King Cup team in April.

“Emma and I get on really well,” said Jones. “We’ve spent a lot of time with each other the last couple of weeks, to the point that we’re both actually ill and I think we’ve given it to each other – I’m going to blame her.

“It’ll be a great match, obviously no pressure for me and I’ve just got to enjoy it. I hope we both enjoy it and we can give the crowd a little bit of a taste of what hopefully is the future of British tennis.”

Raducanu has eased through her first two rounds as she chases a first WTA Tour title.

The 21-year-old said of facing Jones: “She’s a really dangerous opponent. Whatever happens, a Brit is into the semi-finals, which is great for us. I think she’s overcome a lot of challenges with injury as well so it’s nice to see her back and doing well.

“She’s very fun. I think we’re quite similar in the way that we think. We both have a lot of interests outside of tennis and our conversations aren’t just about tennis, which is always nice and always refreshing.”

Meanwhile, top seed Jabeur of Tunisia also reached the quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Czech Linda Fruhvirtova.

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