Tennis

Katie Boulter goes down fighting against Petra Kvitova in Eastbourne

Katie Boulter pushed two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova all the way but saw her Rothesay International Eastbourne run end after a hard-fought 5-7 6-0 7-5 loss.

The world number 127 had knocked out Karolina Pliskova in the previous round to continue her impressive summer on grass and claimed the opener on Centre Court to move within one set of the quarter-finals.

But Kvitova showed her class during the second and held her nerve in the decider at Devonshire Park to dump out Boulter, who will now turn her attention to Wimbledon.

British number four Boulter started slowly in round two and a double-fault in her first service game gave her Czech opponent an early break.

The 32-year-old looked on course to take the opening set before the Briton stormed back in fine fashion to reel off five consecutive games to clinch it 7-5.

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Kvitova, a former world number two, upped her level in the next set and even a second brief stoppage for a medical emergency in the crowd could not halt her momentum as she served out a bagel to Boulter.

Admirably the home favourite regrouped but was decisively broken when she attempted to force a tie-breaker to lose in two hours and 23 minutes.

Cameron Norrie eased past Brandon Nakashima 6-4 6-2 earlier in the day for his first win on grass this summer.

The British number one had suffered a shock early exit at Queen’s Club last week but produced an accomplished display against his American opponent, breaking serve three times.

A first break occurred in the sixth game of the match, with two stunning forehand winners followed by an overhead smash.

It saw Norrie, who will be seeded ninth at Wimbledon, take control of the second-round tie and two early breaks in the second set secured a routine victory clinched with yet another sumptuous forehand winner rushing into the net.

“I love coming here so glad I could enjoy it and play great,” world number 12 Norrie said on-court.

“It would have been nice to go deeper at Queen’s but now looking to get some more matches and time on the grass before Wimbledon here.”

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There will be no all-British meeting in the quarter-finals, though, after Dan Evans was knocked out by Maxime Cressy 7-6 6-4.

Evans went a break down early in the first set but hit back to force a tie-break only to miss out and a close second went the way of the American.

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