Wimbledon Boulter: Katie takes out sixth seed
IN FRONT of home fans on Centre Court, British wildcard Katie Boulter won her way through to the third round of Wimbledon, toppling sixth seed Karolina Pliskova in three sets. The world number 118 only had a 6-5 year-to-date win-loss record coming into the grasscourt Grand Slam event, but has reached the Round of 32 by taking out one of the contenders and reach the third round for the first time.
Boulter won 3-6 7-6 6-4, coming back from a set down to win in one hour and 57 minutes, with the Leicester-born 25-year-old earning the biggest win of her career. It was far from easy, going down a set and then conceding a break late in the second set after being one up, and forced into a tiebreaker. Holding her nerve, Boulter remained calm to win the second set tiebreaker 7-4. Then after an even first eight games of the third set, the world number 118 made her move, breaking Pliskova in the ninth game, then producing a forehand volley on match point in the 10th game to salute.
The Czech put down 13 aces – as well as eight double faults, winning 75 per cent of her first serve points off an elite 79 per cent efficiency. Normally that kind of serving would be hard to break, but Boulter found a way, making the most of her chances, with four breaks from six games. Pliskova also broke four times from eight chances, with two of those coming in the first set. It was Boulter’s willingness to come to the net – winning 80 per cent of her points there – and recovering well to hit 25 winners to Pliskova’s 17.
Though the Czech would six more points overall, Boulter won the points that counted to move through to the third round with another winnable game, this time against Frenchwoman Harmony Tan, who took out Serena Williams in the first round. With a potential fourth round match against Roland Garros finalist Coco Gauff in play, it does not get any easier, but Boulter is not losing any fans for her superb performance against Pliskova.
“It’s easy to say I believe I can win this match. But to have actually gone out and done it a week before, it does make the difference,” Boulter said post-match. “I think that’s also why when I played an OK first set [and] she picked up her game a lot, I felt like I went through that last week. I just needed to stay with her and stay on serve especially in the second set. I did that again in Eastbourne. I managed to get a chance. “I feel like I got that chance again today.”
Swiatek survives scare
In a match where many expected the 37-game winning run of world number one Iga Swiatek to notch up another digit, the Polish star did not have it all her own way. Despite collecting six titles this year already, Swiatek needed two hours and four minutes to overcome qualifier Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove. The Dutch 30-year-old, who is ranked 138th in the world and won just the one match prior to Wimbledon this year, surprised many by matching it with Swiatek across three sets, before the top seed prevailed, 6-4 4-6 6-3.
Swiatek hit 31 winners to 15 and also 31 unforced errors to 22, but it was her second serve win percentage of 52 compared to Pattinama Kerkhove’s 27 per cent that was the difference. The Pole also scrapped hard to win 44 per cent of her receiving points compared to her opponents’ 37 per cent in the victory. The world number one will now take on Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in the third round, before potentially facing past Roland Garros champion, Barbora Krejcikova in the Round of 32.
King Kyrgios conquers Krajinovic
In the gentlemen’s singles, Australian Nick Kyrgios showed why he is a dark horse to take out Wimbledon, completely dismantling 26th seed Serbian Filip Krajinovic in 85 minutes. Kyrgios won 6-2 6-3 6-1 in one of the most ruthless performances of his career, which, in true Kyrgios style, came just two days after battling past a world 219th ranked wildcard in the opening round. Krajinovic had no answers for the Australian, as Kyrgios piled on 24 aces and 50 winners whilst only hitting 10 unforced errors. He won every statistical category, dropping just three points off his first serve and nine in total off his serve, to break six times and never face a break point himself. Now Kyrgios has a massive clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Broady upsets Schwartzman, lights up All-England club
The home fans might have lost Andy Murray yesterday, but British talent Liam Broady kept them entertained with a come-from-behind victory over 12th seed Diego Schwartzman. Broady won 6-2 4-6 0-6 7-6 6-1, turning around a bagel third set to storm to victory in three hours and 47 minutes. Though Schwartzman is not an overly strong grass court player – emphasised by his 61 unforced errors despite being a normally controlled player – he was still favoured to topple Broady. The Brit had other ideas though, with the 132nd ranked wildcard winning just his third match for the year to move through to the Round of 32. Broady will face in-form 19th seed Alex de Minaur in the third round.
IN OTHER RESULTS…
In the ladies’ singles, the match results largely went as expected, with fourth seed Paula Badosa and Gauff cruising through to the third round. Eighth seed Jessica Pegula had to come from a set down to defeat local hope Harriet Dart in three sets, while Grand Slam winners Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won in straight sets. Another Grand Slam winner – Bianca Andreescu – suffered defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, while Chinese teenager Qinwen Zheng, Britain’s Heather Watson and Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic all stamped their tickets into the next round.
It was a surprising day of upsets in the gentlemen’s singles, with United States rising star Brandon Nakashima taking out 13th seed Denis Shapovalov, while Roberto Bautista Agut pulled out of his second round clash, allowing Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan safe passage into the Round of 16. Top seeds, Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal both won, with Taylor Fritz the third highest seeded player in the bottom half of the draw. Australian qualifier Jason Kubler was one game away from winning in straight sets over fellow qualifier Dennis Novak before the match was postponed due to rain.