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British tennis watch: Draper, Boulter triumph amid Dart £50,000 bet anger

British tennis watch: Draper, Boulter triumph amid Dart £50,000 bet anger
© Reuters
Katie Boulter and Jack Draper are among the Britons to prevail on Monday, as grass-court tournaments get underway in Nottingham, Stuttgart and Rosmalen.

With the destiny of the French Open titles decided and clay courts now a thing of the past for another year, Wimbledon anticipation is building as the grass-court tournaments get underway.

The summer season is always a special one for British tennis aficionados, as a multitude of local hopefuls gun for glory on the turf, starting with this week's Nottingham Open, in which Katie Boulter is the defending champion.

The British number one began the defence of her crown against compatriot Harriet Dart, whom she beat in last year's quarter-final before a tense exchange at the net, as the latter had taken issue with Boulter's celebrations.

Twelve months later, Boulter was forced to produce an exceptional comeback to defeat Dart 6-7[5] 6-4 7-5 in the first round, ignoring the noise of Dart giving the umpire an earful over a disputed line call in the second set.

Dart furiously told umpire Kelly Rask that she would "bet £50,000" that a Boulter shot called in was in fact out, and there was only a curt handshake from the pair at the net as the defending champion progressed.

Elsewhere in Nottingham, Heather Watson produced her own comeback to sink the USA's Kayla Day 4-6 6-0 6-4, but Yuriko Miyazaki and Emily Appleton lost to Linda Fruhvirtova and Kimberly Birrell respectively.

Jack Draper reacts at the Australian Open on January 18, 2024© Reuters

While the women's Nottingham tournament is a WTA 250 affair, the men's singles competition is part of the ATP Challenger Tour, although there was still significant British interest as Paul Jubb, Jack Pinnington Jones, Jacob Fearnley, Charles Broom and Henry Searle all prevailed.

Meanwhile, Dan Evans and Dominic Stricker were level at a set apiece before play was suspended for the day, while Jack Draper instead took a jaunt to Germany to compete in the Stuttgart Open.

Recovering from his shock French Open first-round loss to Jesper de Jong, Draper triumphed 7-6[4] 7-6[5] over Sebastian Ofner as he chases his first career title on the ATP Tour.

When are Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu back in action?

Despite the selection of Brits on show on Monday, many fans are wondering when they might get a glimpse of two Grand Slam winners - Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray - in action once more.

The wait is almost over, as Murray will take on Marcos Giron in his Stuttgart opener for the chance to meet Draper in round two, while Raducanu - who skipped the French Open to focus on the grass-court season - faces Ena Shibahara in Nottingham in the afternoon.

As well as the two former number ones, GB's top-ranked men's player Cameron Norrie is also in Challenger action in Nottingham on Tuesday, facing Japan's Sho Shimabukuro.

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