Katie Boulter hoping to reach new levels after first-round win in Nottingham

Katie Boulter believes she can reach new levels after kicking off her grass-court season with a first-round win at the Viking Open in Nottingham.

The 24-year-old is making important steps on her road back from a serious back injury, which put the brakes on a promising rise in her career, having recently broken into the world’s top 100.

Boulter, playing her first WTA Tour match since March and currently ranked 262, looked at ease as she beat Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-2 6-3.

And she is excited about what could be to come.

“I am getting closer to where I want to be, I want to get my ranking up, that’s my number one goal and get back to where I was and push forward from there,” she said.

“I feel my game is in a good place, I feel stronger than I ever have before and I hope I can go a lot further this year.

“I put a lot of work in behind the scenes that people don’t see, I really feel it will pay off eventually and hopefully that will be soon, but I have got to be patient.

“This might be one of my favourite courts, if not my favourite. It feels great for me.”

Harriet Dart won the all-British clash with Emma Raducanu.

The 24-year-old, currently ranked 143 in the world, was too good for the teenager, winning 6-3 6-4 to set up a meeting with Lauren Davis.

There was heartbreak for fellow Brit Francesca Jones, though.

Jones, who suffers from a congenital condition which means she has three fingers and a thumb on each hand, three toes on one foot and four toes on the other, was on course for the second round in Nottingham as she led Georgina Garcia Perez 3-1 in the deciding set of their first-round match.

But a medical timeout for the Spaniard resulted in Jones suffering from full body cramps and she could not recover as Garcia Perez claimed a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win.

American Caty McNally, Japan’s Kurumi Nara and Arina Rodionova of Australia were other first-round winners.