Katie Boulter defeats Jodie Burrage to win her maiden WTA championship at the Nottingham Open 2023.
Katie Boulter won her first WTA title in Nottingham, defeating Jodie Burrage in the first all-British tour-level final in 46 years.
Boulter defeated her good buddy 6-3 6-3 to retain the British women’s number one ranking.
“I’m definitely going to be sleeping with this trophy tonight,” Boulter said during an on-court interview.
Earlier, Andy Murray won the men’s event, as British players get in shape for Wimbledon next month.
Berrettini of Queen’s Boulter and Burrage were competing in the first all-British WTA final since Sue Barker defeated Virginia Wade in San Francisco on February 28, 1977.
Both players were making their WTA finals debuts following strong performances in Nottingham this week, but it was Boulter who grabbed command from the outset.
The order of play had been adjusted due to the weather forecast, and with dark clouds looming overhead, Boulter stormed into a 5-1 lead with a double break in the first set.
But, as Burrage’s forehand clicked, she failed to serve it out at the first attempt. That was the only hiccup for the 26-year-old, as she quickly broke back to complete the set.
She scarcely took a breather at the start of the second, winning the first two games to love and facing her only major challenge at 3-1 when she needed to fend off break point with a brilliant backhand winner.
When Boulter was serving for the match, she delivered her first ace of the match, but she squandered her first match point when she put a backhand narrowly wide – Burrage’s puff of the cheeks a clear indicator of how close it had been. But she was soon enjoying triumph when Burrage, 24, blasted a forehand long.
The duo exchanged a heartfelt hug at the net before sitting next to one other, chatting and smiling as they awaited the trophy ceremony at the end of a great week for both of them.
“I dreamed of this moment, of winning this tournament, as a little girl when I was four years old,” an emotional Boulter said, referring to the competition as her “home tournament” after growing up in Leicester.
“Having come here as a fan and now as a player, and somehow finding a way to win, it means more than everything to me.”
Boulter, who took over as British number one from the injured Emma Raducanu last week, is now expected to break into the world’s top 80 for the first time on Monday in a career marred by injury.
Positive reaction to criticism
The home victory at the British grass-court tournaments this year comes just a few weeks after criticism of the state of tennis in the country when no British women and only three men competed in the main draw of the French Open.
Raducanu’s 2021 US Open triumph, according to British player Dan Evans, “papered over the cracks” in British tennis.
Murray has won back-to-back events here and at Surbiton last week, less than four weeks after making those statements, and three of the women’s semi-finalists at Nottingham were British.
Heather Watson and Harriet Dart fell to Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri and Estonia’s Ingrid Neel in the women’s doubles final, while Jacob Fearnley and Johannus Monday won an all-British men’s doubles final against Liam Broady and Jonny O’Mara on Saturday.
There will be significantly stronger fields at the next grass-court tournaments before Wimbledon, including Eastbourne, Queen’s, and Birmingham, but there will also be a new sense of confidence among some of the British players who have had their greatest tournaments, such Boulter and Burrage.
Burrage said it had been “such a positive week” for her and that she had proven “a lot of things” to herself, while Boulter said, “I’ve played so many British players, we appreciate an all-British final and what an incredible achievement it is.”
“I don’t doubt that we [Burrage and I] will be back here playing more finals.”