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Great Britain’s Katie Boulter eases into first WTA 500 final in San Diego and into top 40 in world rankings



Katie Boulter is into a first WTA 500 final after continuing her superb run at the San Diego Open with a dominant victory over third seed Emma Navarro.

The British No 1 saw off second seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round before knocking out seventh seed Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals and was too strong for Navarro on Saturday as she triumphed 6-3 6-1 in a little over an hour and 10 minutes.

Boulter will now face sixth seed Marta Kostyuk in the final in California, live on Sky Sports Tennis at midnight on Sunday night, and rise to a career-high ranking inside the world’s top 40 next week.

The 27-year-old outplayed and overpowered her American opponent and was not disrupted by a rain delay one game into the second set as she dismantled Navarro.

Boulter won 88 per cent of points on her first serve and hit 24 winners compared to Navarro’s eight, while she converted four of the 10 break points she created and staved off the only two break points Navarro managed to carve out.

Boulter won her only previous final on the WTA Tour, beating fellow Brit Jodie Burrage 6-3 6-3 at the 250 event in Nottingham in June last year, but triumphing in the States would top that.

Boulter breezed past Navarro 6-3 6-1 in California

Top seed Jessica Pegula was beaten by 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 by Kostyuk in the second semi-final.

Kostyuk trailed Pegula 5-1 in the first set before winning five straight games as the match turned completely. She edged out Pegula in the tie-break before dominating the second set to set up a final against Boulter.

Boulter: I didn’t think I’d be in this position

She said in her on-court interview after defeating Navarro: “When I saw the black (rain) cloud coming, I was starting to stress a little bit because it is never easy coming back after a rain delay.

“I thought I was playing some really good tennis so I really didn’t want to stop but it is tennis and you have to deal with it.

“I thought I came out and played some really good stuff. I am starting to really like it here.

“I didn’t think I’d be in this position at the start of the week but I have been working so hard with my team, back home as well, just to be in this position. I am very grateful that has paid off.

“I will have an absolute battle again, so I am going to give it my all.”

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