Kartal makes tattoo vow after inking way into Wimbledon folklore

Sonay Kartal will celebrate her stunning second round success with another tattoo after inking her way into Wimbledon folklore.

The Brighton star, 22, became the first British woman to reach the last 32 as a qualifier since 1997 with a gutsy 6-3 5-7 6-3 triumph over French player Clara Burel.

And that teed up a tantalising third round clash with US Open champion Coco Gauff – ranked 296 places above her – on Friday afternoon.

Kartal, the current world No.298, stormed into a one-set lead before being pegged back by Burel, 23, in the second.

But she regained her composure when the pressure was on to seize the decider, become just the second British woman to reach the third round as a qualifier in the Open Era and rack up a bumper £143,000 in prize money. 

Britain’s Sonay Kartal celebrates after winning her first round match against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea at Wimbledon (Reuters via Beat Media Group subscription)

Kartal has several visible – and ‘pretty random’ – tattoos, including one on her wrist that marks a symbol of bravery.

And asked if she’d get another if she lowered the colours of Gauff to move into the last 16, she said: “Despite the outcome, whatever it is, I think there could be another one.

“I think there will probably be a bet in place with my coach – he also has tattoos and is pretty covered. 

“There’s always a joke in the Slams that we play if I reach certain rounds, there will be something.

“I’m super happy and proud of today’s performance, how I managed to keep a level head throughout that match.

“This is going to help me for a little while and will propel me into playing the bigger tournaments and be on the bigger stage, which is what I want to be doing at the end of the day.”

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.

She battled from behind against Romanian 29thseed Sorana Cîrstea in the opening round on Monday to cap a hat-trick of British female successes alongside 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu and Lily Miyazaki.

And she once again prevailed in a gruelling three-set battle to book a date with Gauff, 20, at the end of the week.

That is a clash that looks likely to take place on Centre Court and Kartal, who overcame illness to compete at SW19 this week, insists she is relishing the challenge.

“These are the moments you dream of as a little kid,” she added.

“If it is Centre Court, I’ll be super excited and super proud to be on that court. It’s a really special thing.

“Obviously it’s going to be a tough match, but if I can continue my form, I’ll give myself a good chance.

“There’s a reason why she is No. 2 in the world, but at the end of the day I’m going to put all of that aside. 

“Ultimately, it’s who you’re playing the other side of the net. 

“I’m going to go on there, have nothing to lose, and I’m just going to enjoy the moment and give it everything and see what I can do.”

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