Katie Boulter aims to reach top 30 after reaching San Diego Open final | tennis

Katie Boulter vowed to keep having fun on the court after beating Emma Navarro to reach her biggest career final at the San Diego Open.

The British No. 1, who won her first WTA Tour title on grass in Nottingham last summer, defeated the New Yorker to book her place in the final of a WTA tournament for the first time after a 6-3, 6-1 win. 500 tournament.

Boulter has had a bright start to the year and the win against her third top-30 opponent of the week guarantees that she will rise at least 14 places in the rankings to a career-high 35th. She will break through the top 30 if she can defeat Marta Kostyuk in Sunday night’s final – where she will be watched by her boyfriend Alex de Minaur, who has an early morning flight planned after defending his title in Acapulco.

“Today was one of those games where everything just clicked,” said Boulter. “I came on the court and started the first few games and I could feel the power she had and the way she handled and maneuvered the ball.

“I had to think of something better, play more aggressively and try. I think this was my chance to just trust myself and the work I’ve done and it paid off. It’s my biggest career final to date. I’m just going to keep having fun.”

The 27-year-old from Leicester dominated her serve against third seed Navarro, winning more than 87% of first serve points and only allowing the American two break points, both of which she saved. Rain stopped play at the start of the second set but the delay failed to slow Boulter’s momentum as she secured victory in 74 minutes.

“It was obviously very difficult because of the rain delay in the middle of the game,” said Boulter, who was ranked well outside the top 100 a year ago.

“I felt like I had the momentum behind me. I put a lot of pressure on myself in the rain delay to stay focused, stay warm and keep that momentum going. “I think I played some really good stuff early on and kept that going and I think that was today super important.”

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Kostyuk is also having one of the best weeks of her career. The 21-year-old from Ukraine – ranked 34th in the world – recovered from a 5-1 deficit in the first set to beat American top seed Jessica Pegula 7-6 (4), 6-1 to take her first set win against a top five player.

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