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By: The Frisco Kid


British tennis is full of young, up-and-coming, inspiring talent now a days and the rising stars of the UK have been on full display this week in Nottingham. With the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham kicking off the British grass court season on the WTA, some of Britain’s biggest young stars like Katie Swan, Gabby Taylor, and Katie Boulter have been in action, along with British number one Johanna Konta and Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka.


While not all the rising stars of British tennis made it through to the second round at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, there were still inspiring runs, signs of future success, from the UK’s future top players. Former junior star Katie Swan showed her mettle and fighting ability on the pro tour, qualifying into the main draw, including an impressive victory over fellow rising star Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain in the final round. Swan posted one of her best results to date on the WTA tour, but the 19 year-old ultimately fell to veteran German Mona Barthel in two tight sets Tuesday.


Fresh off an impressive quarterfinal run last week at the ITF event in Surbiton, 20 year-old Gabby Taylor did not disappoint either, putting up a very good fight against defending champion Donna Vekic in her first match, ultimately falling just short in a 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 marathon on Tuesday.


However, the best result from a Surbiton quarterfinalist came from 21 year-old Katie Boulter, making the most of her wildcard into the Nature Valley Open to secure one of the best tour-level wins of her career, upsetting former US Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium in impressive fashion 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday to move on into the second round. There Boulter will face another very stern test against 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia tomorrow.


British fans had more to cheer for as the UK’s top two women both got their Nottingham runs off to successful starts. A Wimbledon semifinalist last year, British number one Johanna Konta kicked off her grass-court season in style with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Kurumi Nara. To set up an intriguing second round battle with her countrywoman Konta, British number two Heather Watson eased past American Danielle Lao in straight sets to book the Thursday duel with Konta.


Indian Wells champion and Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka is also off to a winning start in Nottingham, securing an impressive victory over American Sachia Vickery in three hard-fought sets Monday before easing her way into the quarterfinals with a comfortable win over Czech Denisa Allertova. On Friday, the 20 year-old will face Romanian fifth seed Mihaela Buzarnescu, fresh off a run to the round of 16 at Roland Garros.


The remaining quarterfinal spots at the Nature Valley Open will be up for grabs Thursday on the women’s side.

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