By Ros Satar

  • Katie Boulter def. Maria Sakkari [8] 7-6(4) 6-3
  • Faces two-time Slam doubles champion this year, Barbora Krejcikova next
TIANJIN, CHINA – Katie Boulter looks to build on a solid win over the No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari and faces Barbora Krejcikova next.

 

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Katie Boulter def. Maria Sakkari [8] 7-6(4) 6-3

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The British No. 3, Katie Boulter gave a great account of herself in a tight battle over the fast-rising Maria Sakkari in the first round at Tianjin. Sakkari’s strengths include great all court movement, and at times it looked as though the Greek would be the one to get the early breakthrough, being the first to put Boulter’s serve under pressure.

Neither player initially managed to get a breakthrough, but it was Boulter’s persistence that first paid off as she pushed ahead for a 5-4 lead at the end of the set. Such is Sakkari’s experience though, she pegged Boulter straight back as the pair traded breaks for four games in a row, to edge towards a tie-break.

Initially Sakkari was in the driving seat, ahead 3-1 before her lead was eroded, with Boulter taking the set on the first set point. That seemed to leave Sakkari deflated as she swiftly went 0-3 down to the Brit, and although Boulter could not quite convert another chance to have a double-break cushion, it was enough of a lead to give the Brit a comfortable margin to close out the match.

 

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Boulter v Barbora Krejcikova | First Meeting

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Confidence is not something that Barbora Krejcikova is lacking. She decided to seek out the advice, and eventually the coaching guidance of the late Jana Novotna when she was just 18, and their collaboration only ended as Novotna’s condition deteriorated after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but the young Czech’s fortune in the doubles speaks for itself with two Slam titles partnering fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova.

However, in the singles, her fortunes this year have been a little more mixed. She won an ITF title on the clay in the summer, but at a tour level while she has fought her way through some tough qualifying rounds, she has yet to go past the first round.

Having not played at all since losing in the first round of qualifying at the US open, she has picked up a couple of qualifying wins in Tianjin, including beating Sabine Lisicki and was gifted her passage into the second round with Kateryna Kozlova retiring 1-4 down with an injury to her right knee.

With Boulter having come through a tight match, against someone with great court presence and variety, she can expect more of the same from someone whose doubles prowess has earned her a French Open and Wimbledon title, and the US Open semi-final.

Boulter can expect to have to move around the court and be prepared to come in a lot more. She might not be able to get away with just the serve and forehand from the back of the court.

Prediction: Boulter in three sets.

Boulter and Krejcikova will play their second round match on Thursday.

 

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