Sonay Kartal

Sonay Kartal lauds finest win of her career at Wimbledon

Sonay Kartal felt like she was playing in the park rather than on the pristine lawns of the All England Club after claiming her first-ever main draw victory.

Third time was the charm for the 22-year-old at SW19, after previously entering as a Wimbledon main draw wild card the previous two years but falling both times at the first hurdle.

But the Brighton starlet has clearly learned from those experiences as she powered through her tie against Romanian Sorana Cîrstea, coming from a set behind to dazzle Court 15 crowds with a stunning bagel in the decider to win 3-6 6-2 6-0.

Kartal is on a four-match winning streak after battling through three rounds of Wimbledon Qualifying last week, which included downing Erika Andreeva in the third and final round.

“I’m super stoked with that one,” she said. “I think the last two years, having fallen short, I felt good this year coming through qualifying.

“It really helped with my performance, It gave me extra confidence having played the matches not that long ago at all.

“I think the first set I started with quite a few nerves. It’s always tough going through first match.

“Third set, I was cruising, I felt like I was just playing at home and everything was just working just as it was on the practice court.”

Kartal only returned to court in April following a health scare earlier in the year, and could never have imagined making the grass season, never mind a Grand Slam.

“I had a scary few months at the start of the year,” she said. “I said I won’t disclose what it was, but it was health-related. I didn’t think I would be back potentially at all this year.

“It was tough sitting on the sidelines for a few months and watching your friends play

“I’ve got a great team around me, a doctor that when I thought I wouldn’t be back was completely determined, changed my mind that I would.

“I had full faith and fully believed she would get me back on the court.”

Kartal is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme presented by Lexus, the highest level of support for developing players aged 16-24, designed to help them crack the Top 100.

With momentum on her side, a clash with France’s Clara Burel awaits and, if she manages to push past the top 50 player, a mouth-watering third-round tie could await with US Open champion Coco Gauff.

On her potential draw, she added: “I’m taking one match at a time is the way I approach everything.

“You just have to play the person in front of you on that day.

“I’m not looking at that at all, I still have another match to get through before I can even think about that. I’m just focused on Wednesday’s match.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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