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‘Too close for comfort’ as Boulter makes San Diego quarter-finals

Katie Boulter came back from a set down to beat second seed Beatriz Haddad Maia 3-6 6-3 6-4 and claim her place in the last eight at the San Diego Open for her first WTA 500 quarter-final.

The British No 1 had three break points midway through the first set, only for the Brazilian world No 13 to fight back and take her only break point of the first set.

Roles were reversed in the second set as Boulter claimed the only break before racing into a 5-1 lead in the deciding set.

Maia broke back and cut the deficit to a single game, but Boulter made no mistake serving for the match a second time to seal her first quarter-final at WTA 500 level.

“I’m very happy with the win,” said Boulter. “It was always going to be a battle and I had a few chances in the first set and didn’t quite get them but I felt that I was right there and I finally got a few more chances and took them so I’m really pleased with myself for the way that I handled the situation.

“I think I lost my concentration a little bit [in the second set]. There were a couple of noises coming from behind the court so I kind of lost my concentration but I normally do feel quite calm serving out matches but it got a little bit too close for comfort and I know what kind of fighter she is. She never makes it easy for you and that’s why she’s ranked where she is.

“I knew it was going to be tough closing it out but I’m very pleased with the way I did it.”

The Brit beat Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-3 6-1 in the previous round of the San Diego tournament on Monday clinching six of the eight break point opportunities she carved out at Barnes Stadium.

Boulter also reached the last 16 of her previous tournament in Linz at the start of this month, including a straight-sets win over Italy’s Jasmine Paolini.

Boulter, 27, who will meet the winner of the match between No 7 seed Croat Donna Vekic and Canadian qualifier Marina Stakusic in the next round, will bid to become the first British woman to reach the semi-final of a WTA 500 since Johanna Konta at Moscow in 2018.

Jessica Pegula made a winning return to competition, easing past German qualifier Jule Niemeier 6-0 6-4.

“I haven’t played a tournament since Australian Open, so I knew I was going to be a little nervous and things were going to be weird,” Pegula said. “But then I came out playing really well. I don’t think she was playing her best but I came out really strong.

“I know she’s the type of player who can make some really good shots, she has a lot of power and she’s super crafty. I knew if I gave her a chance she was going to try and make a run there at the end, which she did. I’m lucky that I’m standing here talking to you guys and not battling it out at the end of the second set.”

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Jessica Pegula made it through to the next round after defeating Jule Niemeier

Australian Daria Saville saved a match point to overcome Tatjana Maria 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 and advance to her first WTA 500 quarter-final since 2022.

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