Katie Boulter said it was “nothing personal” as the new British No 1 defeated compatriot Harriet Dart to reach the semi-finals of the Nottingham Open on Friday.
Boulter completed a 6-3 7-5 win to reach her first WTA Tour-level semi-final, but as the players shook hands, Dart had clearly taken exception to something.
It’s awful playing a friend but I tried to play the ball and not the player. Today it was my day.
She appeared to question her opponent’s professionalism, to which Boulter replied “It’s nothing personal. Mate, I do it every single match.”
Afterwards Boulter said in her on-court interview: “It was a battle out there. You could see how much it meant to me to get through that match.
“It’s awful playing a friend but I tried to play the ball and not the player. Today it was my day.”
Boulter was joined in the semi-finals by British No 3 Jodie Burrage, another debutant in the last four, after coming through a tight match against Poland’s Magdalena Frech.
The 24-year-old won five games in a row to take the first set, finishing it off with an ace.
But she looked up against it after requiring a medical time-out on her way to dropping the second, and fell a break down early in the third.
However, Burrage broke straight back and went on to clinch a 6-2 3-6 7-5 victory in two hours and 21 minutes.
“I’m absolutely knackered now,” she said on court. “I wish I could stop playing three-set matches, but if it gets me the win, then I’ve got to grind through it.”
Burrage continued: “It was a really tough match. I am feeling it a little bit and in the second set, I was thinking too much about that and not about the tennis. Then I picked it up in the third set.
“This week has given me so much confidence. To come out and make my first semi-final in a WTA event, the confidence it gives me is massive and I will take it through to the next tournaments.”