WTA

Harriet Dart confident her game heading right way despite Birmingham exit

By Sports Desk June 23, 2023

Harriet Dart is confident her game is heading in the right direction after her run at the Rothesay Classic in Birmingham was ended by a narrow quarter-final loss to Anastasia Potapova.

Dart defeated top-30 player Anhelina Kalinina for the second week in a row to reach the last eight but was unable to capitalise on a good start against fourth seed Potapova, losing out 4-6 6-3 6-4.

It has been a difficult season for Dart, who has plummeted out of the top 100 after a breakthrough year in 2022, but the 26-year-old has found her form on grass and this was a second consecutive quarter-final appearance following on from Nottingham last week.

“I thought it was a really high-level match,” said Dart, who has been awarded a wild card for Eastbourne next week.

“I don’t think I served particularly very well but managed to find a way to get ahead with the first set. I definitely had a lot of chances. But overall a positive week.

“Of course I wanted to do better today and to keep going but it’s important just to keep building week in, week out to be able to compete with the best players in the world.

“And to also be realistic. This is grass, it’s a unique surface. I really enjoy these couple of weeks and just to try and use this momentum for the rest of the season.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Harriet Dart (@harriet_dart)

 

“Today I played someone who’s 21 in the world and lost 6-4 in the third, and I think there’s a lot of areas I can improve on, so it’s heading in the right direction.”

Dart struggled with her serve throughout the match but managed to win the opening set despite five double faults, producing some fine shots from the back of the court, and she made the first move in the second set with a break for 2-1.

But Potapova, ranked 21st, began to punish Dart’s second serve and the Russian turned the match around with a run of four games in a row, cutting down on the errors that had blighted her game.

Dart recovered from 3-1 down in the deciding set to level at 3-3 but Potapova’s heavy groundstrokes were taking their toll and the Russian broke again before serving out the victory.

Potapova next faces second seed Jelena Ostapenko, who mounted an impressive comeback from a set and 4-0 down to defeat Magdalena Frech 4-6 7-5 6-2.

The Latvian played until after 8pm on Thursday night in her victory over Venus Williams and was back on court on Friday lunchtime to take on Pole Frech.

Ostapenko needed treatment for a left calf problem and at one stage looked like she might not finish the match but she managed to turn things around in the second set before taking the decider.

“It was very little time to recover from yesterday because we finished very late,” she said.

“I was struggling as well with my left calf. I was thinking at some point maybe I should not continue but there is a fighter inside of me so I want to play until I cannot walk or something.

“After winning the second set I felt like I was playing better and my footwork was there. I’m really glad to manage to win this match.”

Top seed Barbora Krejcikova is through to the last four for the first time at a grass-court event having beaten teenage compatriot Linda Fruhvirtova 6-3 6-2, and the Czech will take on China’s Zhu Lin, who was a 4-6 6-3 6-2 winner over Rebecca Marino.

Related items

  • Emma Raducanu records impressive victory over Angelique Kerber in Stuttgart Emma Raducanu records impressive victory over Angelique Kerber in Stuttgart

    Emma Raducanu claimed an emphatic 6-2 6-1 win over former two-time champion Angelique Kerber in the last 32 of the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

    Fresh from helping Great Britain reach the finals of the Billie Jean Cup at the weekend, Raducanu continued her promising form on clay by breezing past the home favourite.

    Both Raducanu and Kerber were playing as wild cards in Stuttgart, with the Briton tumbling down the rankings after time out to undergo three surgeries.

    Meanwhile former world number one Kerber only recently returned from 18 months out on maternity leave.

    Raducanu got off to a flying start by breaking Kerber in the opening game and despite an immediate response from the German, the 2021 US Open champion took control and claimed the first set in 41 minutes.

    Kerber was broken again at the start of the second set and although she managed to haul back level, Raducanu stepped up a gear and shrugged off a brief visit from the trainer to wrap up an emphatic win.

    Also in Stuttgart, reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff rallied from 4-2 down in the deciding set to overcome fellow American and world number 134 Sachia Vickery 6-3 4-6 7-5.

    And Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur finally snapped a five-game losing streak to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 2-6 6-3 7-6 (1), telling reporters: “I thought about withdrawing so many times because I couldn’t take another loss.”

    In Rouen, Naomi Osaka’s return to clay was cut short by a 6-4 6-2 first round defeat to Martina Trevisan.

    Like Kerber, Osaka only recently returned to the tour following maternity leave, and was competing as a wild card.

    In the Oeiras Ladies Open in Portugal, Britain’s fifth-seeded Harriet Dart suffered a 6-3 6-1 defeat to home player Matilde Jorge.

  • Rafael Nadal’s Barcelona Open hopes ended by Alex de Minaur Rafael Nadal’s Barcelona Open hopes ended by Alex de Minaur

    Rafael Nadal’s latest comeback bid came to an end as he was well beaten 7-5 6-1 by fourth seed Alex de Minaur at the Barcelona Open.

    The 37-year-old was playing just his second tournament in 15 months after suffering another hip problem at his comeback event in Brisbane in January.

    And having intimated that this will be his final year before retirement, Nadal’s defeat was likely to mark his final appearance at a tournament he has won 12 times.

    Having overcome Italian Flavio Cobolli in the opening round, Nadal faced a much sterner test against the in-form De Minaur and was sent scampering around the court in a tight opening set which was edged by the Australian.

    De Minaur went on to step up a gear, securing a double break over the Spaniard and racing over the line behind a strong service game on which he did not drop a single point in the second set.

    Jack Draper made the most of a rain delay to defeat wild card Rudolf Molleker and reach the quarter-finals of the BMW Open in Munich.

    German Molleker, ranked 179th, had been the better player in the first set but a brief stoppage ahead of the second set changed the momentum of the contest.

    Draper began to assert his powerful game after the resumption and lost only two more games, pulling away to claim a 4-6 6-1 6-1 victory.

    In the last eight the British number two, who is ranked 46th, will take on either third seed Taylor Fritz or Spanish qualifier Alejandro Moro Canas.

    Speaking in an on-court interview, Draper said: “I think Rudy played an amazing level in the first set. The conditions were very rainy and very slow. In the second and third, the sun comes out and I start feeling better. I’m really proud of the way I played.”

  • Rafael Nadal eases past Flavio Cobolli on return to action in Barcelona Rafael Nadal eases past Flavio Cobolli on return to action in Barcelona

    Rafael Nadal made a triumphant return to the match court with victory over Flavio Cobolli in the first round of the Barcelona Open.

    The 37-year-old was playing just his second tournament in 15 months after suffering another injury problem in his hip muscle at his comeback event in Brisbane in January.

    Nadal only committed to playing at the tournament he has won 12 times on Monday but there was not much rust on display as he eased to a 6-2 6-3 victory over 21-year-old Italian Cobolli in his first match on clay since he won his 14th French Open title in 2022.

    Nadal received a hero’s welcome as he strode out onto the court that bears his name and, although there were a few loose forehands in the early stages, the former world number one was too solid for Cobolli.

    Cobolli understandably looked nervous and contributed to the scoreline with far too many errors, but a big factor in that was the pressure being exerted from the other end of the court.

    A blip came when Nadal, who is set to retire at some point this season, played a poor game to drop serve for the first time in the third game of the second set but he had already broken Cobolli and quickly restored his advantage.

    There were some vintage forehands from Nadal in the final stages and he clinched victory when Cobolli netted a final backhand, thrusting his fist into the air.

    The home favourite faces a real test next, though, when he takes on in-form fourth seed Alex De Minaur.

    Meanwhile, second seed Andrey Rublev destroyed his racket at the end of a 6-4 7-6 (6) defeat by Brandon Nakashima that continued his poor run of form.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.