Sonay Kartal defies pre-event illness to win Surbiton opener

Sonay Kartal has not let a pre-tournament virus stop her from hitting her stride at the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy.

The 21-year-old Brighton star, who is supported by the LTA’s PSP Programme, breezed past Slovakian Viktoria Hruncakova 6-3 6-2 to advance to the round of 16 in West London.

The victory sets up an all-British clash against Katie Boulter, who sailed past Australia’s Olivia Gadecki in straight sets shortly after Kartal’s victory.

But it has not all been plain sailing for Kartal in the build-up to the grass court season, who had to come overcome an illness ahead of the start of the tournament.

She said: “My prep going into this tournament was not what I would have hoped for.

“I was ill for two weeks and then at the last minute decided to come onto the grass instead of clay.

“I have only had a few days practising on grass, but I am very happy.

“I just had a virus coming back from Paris, as soon as I landed I was in bed for like ten days.

“It just wiped me out.

“I am all good now, I have felt fine the last few days, so I think I managed to shake it off right on time.

“It is tough, grass for me is the surface I probably find most challenging, so to come into it with little prep is definitely something in the back of my head.

“I’m just taking one match at a time – hopefully, I can do pretty well and build some momentum for the rest of the grass season this year.”

Kartal played Hruncakova at the French Open less than three weeks ago.

It was a far closer affair at Roland Garros, with the Brit on the losing side in a three-set thriller. 

And she was happy to prove herself against a top player this time around, adding: “I am very happy to be in the round of 16.

“I played her in the first round of the French Open qualifiers and it was a tough match.

“I was ahead but ended up losing, so it is nice to get a little bit of revenge today.

“She hits a big ball, I am sure that she can be really dangerous on grass.

“I think her game style definitely suits clay, so I am happy that it was a convincing score.”

“I don’t look too far ahead I just take each match as it comes.”

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

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