Harriet Dart

Dart fights through tears to clinch battle of Brits Wimbledon thriller

Emotional Harriet Dart admits she fought through the tears to win a battle of the Brits thriller against Katie Boulter at Wimbledon.

It may have been Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak slugging it out on the election trail – but it was these top two British stars who duelled it out for the eighth time in their careers on Court 1 yesterday.

And it was underdog Dart, 27, who came out on top, overturning a 6-2 deciding tie-break deficit after breaking down in tears to edge into the third round for just the second time in her career.

Dart’s record of a single victory against Boulter, also 27, and the duo’s match history of late – they clashed in a three-hour epic at the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham last month – was a concoction perfectly brewed for an epic showdown in SW19.

And when locked at one set apiece and 6-6 in the decider, a match tie-break in the third tested both their mettle but it was Dart who defied the odds to complete a 4-6 6-1 7-6 (8) triumph.

“I knew it was always going to be a really tough battle,” said the British No.2, who will face unseeded Chinese player Wang Xinyu in the third round.

“We only played a few weeks ago and it didn’t go my way, I wear my emotions on my sleeve.

“You see everything how I’m thinking unfortunately, but I’m so happy to be able to get through.”

World No.100 Dart has become accustomed to marathon encounters on grass this season, not least a tense match against today’s opponent last month where Boulter came out on top.

It seemed business as usual for the British No.1 in the first set, breaking Dart for an encouraging opening advantage before the fellow Brit hit back to level up.

And at 6-2 down in the deciding tie-break the tears were in full flow for the Hampstead player, looking broken as the emotional toil of another lengthy match just shy of three hours took its toll.

“I wasn’t expecting too much,” she said. “But at the same time, I was trying my best out there and even though I was down in that tie-break I just thought, just give it everything and no regrets and battled my way through.”

Dart won eight of the next 10 points to punch her third-round ticket that many beforehand had hedged their bets against.

And the draw has now opened up. A shock defeat of World No. 5 Jessica Pegula means Dart will face fellow unseeded player Wang in the third round.

For Boulter, it is back to the SW19 drawing board after making 75 unforced errors – but there will not be much dwelling on a Grand Slam tie Boulter may prefer to forget.

She said: “These are the kind of losses that sting a little bit. There’s no other way to put it.

“I’m going to come back stronger and hopefully be winning a lot more matches here next year.”

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

Related Articles