British pair Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter battle through at Viking Open

Johanna Konta celebrates

British pair Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter kept the home flag flying as they made it into the Viking Open quarter-finals in Nottingham.

Konta and Boulter have started their preparations for Wimbledon early by travelling to the low-key event in the midlands and it looks to be paying off as they made good progress.

British No 1 and top seed Konta got a good workout against Kateryna Kozlova as she won a topsy-turvy battle 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

Konta, who has had an indifferent 2021 so far and recently split with her coach Dimitri Zavialoff, is pleased she was able to get over the line in such an encounter.

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“It was an incredibly tough match. She is playing well on the surface and has beaten some really good players here so she is playing well,” she said.

“I knew it was not going to be a straightforward match and it proved so.

“I am just really happy to have fought hard and come through a match like that, for me especially this season is great. I am very happy to be here. This is the biggest crowd I have played in front of for two years, this is packed.”

Konta, a two-time runner-up at this event, will now face Alison Van Uytvanck in the last eight.

Boulter will be even more pleased with her week as she booked just her third quarter-final spot at WTA Tour level.

The 24-year-old is on the comeback trail after her career was stalled by a serious back injury and then the coronavirus pandemic and put in an impressive performance to beat compatriot Heather Watson.

A tight opening set was decided by a tiebreak before Boulter raced away in the second to win 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

Boulter, who is arguably playing her best tennis since reaching a career-high ranking of 82 before her injury, said: “I love this court, I have played some really good matches on it and I am really proud of myself, I thought it was a really good match.

“I thought it was a really good level, the first set was really tough and it could have gone either way and I just managed to scrape it.

“I am really happy with the way I am playing, I have got some good stuff out there and I have got to keep building and hopefully each match I can keep doing that.”

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