Sonay Kartal

Sonay Kartal determined to pit herself against the best after Wimbledon run

Sonay Kartal is determined to continue testing herself against the very best after her fairytale Wimbledon run came to an end at the hands of Coco Gauff.

British qualifier Kartal eventually lost 6-4 6-0 to world No. 2 Gauff on No.1 Court, bringing an end to her time in SW19 that began all the way back in the first round of qualifying and included her maiden Grand Slam main draw victory.

The 22-year-old had already made history by becoming the first British woman qualifier to reach the third round since 1997 and though she was unable to extend her run into the weekend, she is hoping this week can be the springboard for better things in the future.

She said: “Today was a really good test for me. I’ve never come out with someone like Coco before.

“There’s a reason why she is where she is, No. 2 in the world. She played some unbelievable tennis in that second set.

“My first set today, that set today and the whole week, has given me confidence to prove that my level is up there.

“I’m proud of not just today but my whole week and last week, coming through qualis. Monday for me getting my first WTA win, as well as a first Grand Slam win; super proud of that.

“I think that first set today was probably some of my best tennis I’ve played.

“It’s important for me now to play the bigger tournaments, play the bigger WTA tournaments.

“I think consistently playing at that high level is what is going to develop me as a tennis player.

“I think I’m going to have to think of a new route of tournaments that I want to play. I think for me, the best way for me to develop is to put myself out there against the higher-level players and almost be uncomfortable. I think that’s going to be what’s going to develop me.”

Kartal went toe-to-toe in with her American opponent, ranked 296 places above her, responding well from a break of serve to love in the very first game to force her way back into the contest.

It took the Brit until the third game to even win a point, but the cheers of the home crowd appeared to quickly assuage any nerves, as Kartal’s powerful hitting quickly came to the fore in long rallies.

It earned her a break of serve of her own before Gauff got her second to win the set, celebrating with a roar that was reflective of the battle she had been in.

The second set was ultimately more as expected, as Gauff’s experience and class eventually told as she sealed victory with an ace.

But Kartal reflected on a day and week to remember, as she went out with the home crowd right behind her.

“It was unbelievable,” added Kartal, who 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.

 “From walking out to walking off. They were behind me after every single point. I think it’s something that is truly special. It meant a lot to me today to have them backing me after every point.

“I think that feeling of them in my ear when I was walking off, that moment is going to stick around a long time for me.”

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

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