Katie Boulter will face her best friend Freya Christie, the highest-ranked player in the draw, to seal the final in the Progress Tour Women’s Championships
In the other Premier Division semifinal, Jodie Burrage will face Alicia Barnett
In the Division 1, Amelia Blissett reached the semifinals with a 3-0 win-loss record, winning six sets out of six played
ROEHAMPTON, UK – Katie Boulter will have to beat Freya Christie, her longtime close friend, to reach the final in the Premier Division at the Progress Tour Women’s Championships
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Katie Boulter b. Jodie Burrage 6-3 7-6(5)
Facing your best friend is never easy. Katie Boulter and Freya Christie will have to face that task when they meet in the semifinals at the Progress Tour Women’s Championships. Playing at Roehampton’s National Tennis Centre, Boulter beat Jodie Burrage 6-3 7-6(5) to top the Group Anne Keothavong. In the Group Elena Baltacha, Alicia Barnett edged Christie; she will face Burrage for a berth in the title match.
The 23-year-old Boulter, apparently the woman to beat by virtue of her former ranking and Grand Slam experience, slipped from No.82 to No.374 after a back injury. In the final match of the group stage, she had the toughest test of the week as she had to come back from a double break down in the second set against the highest-ranked player in the draw.
She also needed six match points to win the match. The former WTA top-100 was able to show her A-game, having both players already sealed a place in the last four.
Boulter said: “I think it’s very important for me to go the extra mile – I’m pretty injury prone so I have to look after myself and I’ll do everything I can tonight to make sure. It’s just a question of my body getting used to playing these matches day in, day out because that’s what I’m going to have to do when I’m back on tour.”
In Blustery conditions, Christie looked fairly dominant in the opening set however Barnett raised her level to move 4-1 in the second set before sealing it in a tiebreaker.
Barnett said after her match: “I just dug deep, I tried to focus on the right things because I felt like in the first set, I was letting her dictate and run me around a little bit too much, So I just wanted to be a little bot more aggressive and looser and shorten the points. Whether that worked or not I’m not sure but yeah I just felt I started playing a little bit better in the second and third.”
(Quotes contributed by Ros Satar).
Christie, able to drill brilliant shots, lost her only previous clash against her closest friend, 6-4 6-1 in an ITF event in Nottingham, on hardcourt, in 2014.
Barnett, six years older than her next opponent, defeated Burrage in her lone previous meeting, in the quarterfinals of the W15 in Sajur last year. In the quarter-finals, the more experienced contender won in three sets after losing the opener.
Erin Richardson finished her group stage campaign with a large 6-1 6-1 victory over Olivia Nicholls. Both players reached the semi-finals. Richardson will meet Nell Miller, who defeated 7-5 6-2 injury replacement Lilian Mould, while second-ranked Nicholls will face 17-years-old Amelia Bissett, unbeaten so far having won all the six sets played.
Bissett completed her stunning campaign in the Group Annabel Croft beating Aimee Gibson 6-3 6-4, with Miller ranked second as she played more matches than the players tied her at two wins in the table.
The 2000-born Richardson had never met previously teenage Miller, who played just two matches at ITF-level thus far.
The doubles’ semifinals
In the doubles’ event, Burrage, partnering Christie, withdrew from their final match. They were already guaranteed to be in the last four, where they will face Barnett and Nicholls, unbeaten on top of the Group Virginia Wade. The walkover benefited Esther Adeshina and Sonay Kartal. They advanced to the top of Group Jo Durie. They will meet Emily Arbuthnottand Anna Popescu.
How to watch the Progress Tour Women’s Championships
Matches are being shown on the LTA Channels and on BBC Digital Platforms.
Play continues at 11am (BST).
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