Katie Boulter is into the third round of Wimbledon for a second year in a row after the Brit defeated Viktoriya Tomova in three sets. The Brit made an aggressive start to the match as she stepped into the court and hit a flurry of return winners. Boulter hit 12 of her 37 winners in the opening set as she dictated play with her forehand to produce ruthless power.
On the other hand, Tomova offered very little in attack as she was overpowered by the consistently aggressive Boulter. The Bulgarian only won 35% of her first serves as Boulter stormed to the opening set, winning all six games in 27 minutes.
However Tomova was too good not to produce a response in the second set and that’s exactly what happened as Boulter’s level dipped. The Bulgarian was winning the shorter rallies to take control of the match, winning 18 of 31 points that went below four shots which was a drastic change from the first set.
Despite Boulter recovering the early break deficit, the Brit couldn’t maintain her effective serving throughout the second set. The world number 89 produced too many unforced errors in key moments as Tomova broke in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Boulter produced four more unforced errors in the final game as the gritty Bulgarian forced a deciding set.
If Boulter wanted to win his match it was important for the Brit to snatch the momentum away from Tomova and that’s exactly what the British number one as she broke early for a 2-0 lead. The Brit was aggressive and secure on return as she looked like the player that was going to secure another break.
The Bulgarian did anything she could to disrupt the Brit’s game with some depth and variety edging her towards to service holds. However Boulter had all the answers for Tomova’s awkward baseline game and the Brit survived a tough service hold finishing with a forehand winner to seal a place in the third round for a second year in a row.
After her win Boulter admitted it’s good for her to get through matches like this and pointed to her self-belief as a reason to why she is playing so well on grass.
“Yeah, I think it’s really important for me to get through matches like that,” Boulter said in her press conference.
“She’s obviously a top player. She plays week in, week out against players like me. She knows how to win a lot of matches. She beat the seed yesterday. I was expecting a tough match. She came out, and I was playing some really good tennis in the first set.
“I expected a reaction to the first set, and she definitely came back and gave me a lot more trouble in the second, and third, as well. I tried to dig deep, as much as I could, and stick to my game plan, back myself. Today it paid off.
“I think I’m playing really well. I’ve played a lot of matches on the grass. I feel very comfortable. Again, it’s always a tough match on grass when you’re playing people like I am today. They’re going to come back at you with a lot more trouble. I have to find ways to win.
“A lot of it is my self-belief. A lot of matches I’ve really drawn from recently to help me get over the line. I definitely did that again today, as well as the British crowd.”
Katie Boulter [WC] v Elena Rybakina  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Rybakina has been very hard to break so far at Wimbledon this year and Boulter will need to be clinical and patient on return if she wants to have a chance of winning this match.
Playing styles and prediction
Despite her preparation for Wimbledon being hampered by illness, Rybakina has started Wimbledon strongly with confident wins over Shelby Rogers and Alize Cornet. The Kazakh’s accurate serving mixed with strong forehand will be a tough combination to beat over the next week as she looks to successfully defend her Wimbledon title and prove why she is one of the best and most consistent players in the world.
Boulter will need to be patient on return and not rush her shots too much as Rybakina will look to be aggressive with the forehand and force the Brit out of position. The Brit can play this match with utter freedom and has all the qualities to force Rybakina to play her very best tennis. However the Kazakh should have too much quality and consistency to reach the second week at Wimbledon even if it is in three sets.
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