British No 1 Katie Boulter is through to the third round of the US Open for the first time in her career – and now she could be set for another huge rankings breakthrough.
On a warm day in New York, Boulter came from a set down to secure a place in the third round of the US Open for the first time.
The 27-year-old matched her run at Wimbledon this summer after a gutsy 5-7 6-1 6-4 victory over China’s in-form Wang Yafan.
Wang was on an 11-match winning streak, including beating seventh seed Caroline Garcia in the first round, but she was outlasted by Boulter.
“I’m obviously super happy,” Boulter told Sky Sports. “At the start, I was a little bit nervous and I was nervous at the end finishing it, but proud of how I managed to get over the line.
“We played some unbelievable tennis. I have a few things to work on myself, but I’m so happy.
“I had a few set points in the first set which I wasn’t able to convert. She played some really good tennis and I had to really battle and go for it at the same time.
“Credit to her. She is a great player and doesn’t make it easy. I managed to get over the line so I am extremely happy.”
The joy for Britain’s top player will be boosted by the prospect of a break into the top 50 of the WTA rankings for the first time.
This win against Wang moved her up to No 50 in the provisional WTA rankings, but they are likely to change heading into the second week of the US Open.
Boulter will now face 21-year-old world No 59 Peyton Stearns from America for a place in the last 16, with a win in that match certain to fire her into the top 50 of the rankings and she will head into that match as the favourite.
While Stearns has impressed in her breakthrough year at the top of the game, her run to the last 32 of the US Open is something of a surprise and she will face a stiff test against big-hitting Boulter.
Stearns spoke to Tennis365.com in association with Universal Tennis earlier this year, as she reflected on her story from the junior ranks to the senior WTA Tour.
“I went through this process very quickly since I left school last year,” said Stearns, reflecting on her rapid rise up the rankings.
“My coach is still trying to grasp that this doesn’t happen so quickly very often. I need to understand what I do and how I do it because I have accelerated at a fast pace.
“My goal when I left school last year was to try and crack the top 200. Then my goal was to crack the top 100 or 125, so I am well past that.
“I had to change some of those targets and now the goal is top 50. It’s exciting and I think it is very doable.”
Meanwhile, there was more good news for British players at the US Open, as Jack Draper made the third round at the US Open for the second consecutive year.
The 21-year-old is the first of the six-strong British contingent playing on day four to get through after an impressive 6-2 6-4 7-5 win over Hubert Hurkacz, the 17th seed from Poland.
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