During a newly banner year for British women at Wimbledon, Harriet Dart won a grueling all-British battle on Court No.1 on Thursday. In a second-round showdown, Great Britain’s No.2 Dart squeaked past British No.1 Katie Boulter 4-6, 6-1, 7-6[10-8].

World No.100 Dart needed three minutes shy of three hours to upset No.32 seed Boulter and reach the Wimbledon third round for the second time in her career. Dart previously made it this far in 2019 as a wild card.

Wimbledon 2024: Scores | Draws | Order of play

Dart collected just her second win over her fellow 27-year-old Boulter in their eight professional meetings. With the win, Dart avenged a narrow loss to Boulter three weeks ago in Nottingham.

It was very close to being another victory for Boulter, who held a commanding 6-2 lead over Dart in the decisive match-tiebreak. But Dart regrouped to pull back to 8-8, then saw Boulter leak a forehand unforced error to set up the first match point for either player.

A final Boulter forehand flew long on match point, and Dart sank to the ground as she set up a third-round clash with World No.42 Wang Xinyu. Wang shocked No.5 seed Jessica Pegula earlier on Thursday.

Dart beat Wang in their only previous meeting, at Melbourne Summer Set 2 qualifying in 2022.

Dart’s win officially sealed Great Britain’s best third-round ladies’ singles performance in 40 years. She joins 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu and qualifier Sonay Kartal at that stage of this fortnight.

It is the first time since 1984 that three or more British women have advanced to the Wimbledon third round. That year, five British women made it into the third round: Virginia Wade, Jo Durie, Anne Hobbs, Julie Salmon and Annabel Croft.

It was a regular occurrence to have three or more British women make the Wimbledon third round in the early part of the Open Era. In fact, it happened 11 straight times from the dawn of the Open Era in 1968 through 1978.

The Open Era peak came in 1975, when eight British women made the third round.

This year’s three remaining Brits are now hoping to emulate the most recent British ladies’ singles champion at Wimbledon: Virginia Wade, who won during Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

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Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/4051335/dart-finalizes-best-british-third-round-showing-at-wimbledon-in-40-years

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