Boulter cruises into Canberra International semis

At the time Katie Boulter and Heather Watson took to the court and the Canberra Tennis Centre there was a distant rumbling of car engines that were taking part in the Summernats street cruise.

Canberra: 5 January 2023 – Katie Boulter duribg the quarterfinals match at the Canberra International tournament. Photo by Rob Keating,

Boulter has also been crusing through the field at the W60 ITF event which is part of the Canberra International.

In what was an all-British match, Boulter got the better of her good friend, Heather Watson, taking the match 6-1, 6-3.

30-year-old Watson who has a career-high ranking of no. 38 back in early 2015 had slipped out of the top-100 in 2022 to now site at no. 139. Boulter has only reached no. 82 back in early 2019 and is just ahead of Watson in the rankings at no. 136.

Watson served at a higher percentage than her younger opponent however it was Boulter that won more points from her first serve. It was 65% to 52% with Boulter winning 20 from 24 first serve points. Watson could only manage 19 from 39.

Boulter had more pace on her groundstrokes and frequently hit winners. In the after match interview Boulter said she is looking to stay injury free in 2023.

“This week was very important,” Boulter said.

“I wanted to start my season well and get a few matches in the bag. I feel like I’ve already accomplished that, but I’ll just keep on pushing and see what’s possible.”

Next up for Boulter is USA’s world no. 166 Hailey Baptiste. The American also had an easy win, matching Boulter’s scoreline in defeating Australia’s Astra Sharma 6-1, 6-3.

Jodie Burrage, the top-ranked Brit playing in the tournament, also advanced to the semifinals after defeating Japanese qualifier Mai Hontama 6-4, 6-4. Burrage is 23-years-old and sits at no. 131 in the rankings, just a few spots off her career-high of no. 126.

Hontama wasn’t able to backup her defeat of the no. 3 seed Diane Parry in the previous round.

Burrage will face Ukrainian veteran Lesia Tsurenko. Back in 2019 Tsurenko was ranked at no. 23, her career high. She has slipped to no. 137 in recent times.

Canberra: 5 January 2023 – Lesia Tsurenko during a quarterfinal match at the Canberra International tournament. Photo by Rob Keating

In windy conditions it was Tsurenko that defeated Germany’s world no. 127 Eva Lys. Tsurenko is 33-years-old, Lys just 20.

Back in October Lys won the W60 ITF tournament in Trnava and then she was runner-up at the W100 ITF tournament at Shrewsbury.

Tsurenko defeated Lys 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. It is good seeing Tsurenko put back-to-back matches together after having retired or given a walkover seven times in 2022.

Boulter faces Baptiste in the first semifinal at 12:00 pm with the second semifinal part of a twilight program, the match is scheduled for 5:00 pm.

Baptiste has to backup to play in the doubles semifinal. Both semis are Russia v USA matchups.

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