Harriet Dart is proving to be somewhat of a superwoman, winning 3 matches at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne on Wednesday – two singles and a doubles match – aided by spaghetti marinara, and setting up a quarter-final meeting with two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
I started very, very well but I just didn't keep going in the first set. It was a tough match, a long one as well; I felt like we were playing on the clay and not on the grass! Petra Kvitova
The British No 2, now ranked 103 in the world, started her day by finishing off her suspended 2nd-round match against 10th seeded Jil Teichmann from Switzerland out on Court 4, winning through from a break down to a meeting with Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk, 7-6(7) 4-6 6-3.
She was back after a short rest, on Court 2, where she battled past Kostyuk, 6-4 2-6 6-4, to reach the quarter-finals before concluding a busy day by teaming up with Heather Watson to defeat American duo Desirae Krawczyk & Shelby Rogers, 7-5 6-4, back on Court 4, completing another match that had been suspended because of poor light since Monday.
The first Brit to make the quarters at Eastbourne in 5 years, Dart spent more than 3 hours on court at Devonshire Park.
“I am just glad to be leaving this place before dark, so that is definitely a real positive,” the 25-year old. ”Just, it sounds really silly, but I do everything pretty much the same.
“So, I will just be getting food from Pomodoro’s, which is a great Italian restaurant that I am sure you all know about. Having the same thing. I know it’s boring, but it works – The spaghetti marinara. It’s good!”
Dart is having a superb grass-court swing, having reached her first WTA quarter-final at Nottingham earlier this month, and has been rewarded with a wild-card into the main draw at Wimbledon, which starts on Monday, while her ranking in now likely to rise back into the top 100.
Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage, though, both saw their fine runs come to an end, with Boulter, the British No 4, pushing Kvitova from Czech Republic all the way before going down, 5-7 6-0 7-5, while Burrage, fresh from a career-best scalp over top seed Paula Badosa from Spain on Tuesday, could not keep up with the in-form Brazilian, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the third match on Centre Court, losing 6-1 6-2.
25-year-old Boulter had knocked out Czech Karolina Pliskova, the 4th seed, in the previous round to continue her impressive summer on grass.
Boulter started slowly and a double-fault in her first service game gifted Kvitova an early break, and the 32-year-old Czech looked on course to take the opening set before the Briton stormed back in fine fashion to reel off 5 consecutive games to clinch it herself.
Kvitova, a former world number two, upped her level in the second, and even a second brief stoppage for a medical emergency in the crowd could not halt her momentum as she served out a bagel to the Brit.
Admirably, the home favourite regrouped but was decisively broken when she attempted to force a tiebreak to lose in two hours and 23 minutes.
“I started very, very well but I just didn’t keep going in the first set,” Kvitova said. “It was a tough match, a long one as well; I felt like we were playing on the clay and not on the grass!”
Boulter saved the only break point for either player in the decider prior to that point, when she held serve for 2-2, while Kvitova only lost 6 points in 6 service games in the 3rd set, and she credited her improved serving with helping her win.
“I started strong in the second and just kept going on the serve, very consistent,” Kvitova added. “That was the key today.”
Haddad Maia, the 15th seed here, was able to break Burrage in the 4th service game, and showed why she has won the titles in Nottingham and Birmingham over the past fortnight as she notched up her 12th consecutive win on grass.
Burrage, ranked 169, got herself back on the board in the 3rd game of the second set but, despite some excellent backhand winners, suffered a straight sets loss in just over an hour.
Haddad Maia found fewer problems in those 70 minutes against Burrage than Badosa or former Top 15 player Petra Martic had in the previous rounds, and the powerful left-hander set up a quarter-final meeting against resurgent former Top 30 player Lesia Tsurenko from Ukraine, who battled past Poland’s Magda Linette, 7-5 3-6 7-5.
It is Tsurenko’s first quarter-final at WTA 500 level or higher since she was runner-up to Pliskova in Brisbane in 2019.
Italy’s Camila Giorgi claimed a fine 7-5 6-3 victory over 5th-seeded former Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the last 16, while defending champion Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia stayed on course to retain her WTA 500 title her after her opponent, American Madison Keys, retired due to an abdominal injury after the 8th seed had won the first set 6-3.
Giorgi, now the last remaining Top 10 player left in the draw, came from a break down in both sets to upset Muguruza in an hour and 53 minutes, and will face lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova in the quarter-finals, who got past Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens, 7-6(7) 4-6 6-3, in exactly 2 hours of play.
The No 128-ranked Bulgarian came from a set and a break down to reach her first WTA 500 quarter-final.
Giorgi took some time to find her groove, particularly on serve and, of the World No 26’s 7 double-faults, 5 came in her first 4 service games.
A back-to-back pair paved the way for Muguruza to break for 2-1, and another duo gave the Spaniard a point for the double break at 4-2, but Giorgi upped the ante with a series of pacy forehands to get herself out of trouble, and levelled at 4-4 when Muguruza contributed a double-fault of her own, down break point.
At the climax of the set, Giorgi rattled off a series of winners to break Muguruza again in the last game.
The former World No 1 took another 3-1 lead in the second but, once again, she could not sustain her form and her own double-fault tally crept up to 6 as Giorgi hit back with a run of 5 straight games to seal victory.
Consecutive dead net cords enlivened the final game, with the first going Muguruza’s way and bringing up a break-back point, only to be denied by a second in Giorgi’s favour.
Giorgi finished with 30 winners to 33 unforced errors, while Muguruza found only 10 winners to 26 unforced errors.
The Italian is now into her 3rd career quarter-final in Eastbourne, having first reached the Last 8 here in 2014 and then the semi-finals in 2021, while the Italian also notches back-to-back quarter-finals on grass this year, following her Last 8 run in Birmingham last week.
Ostapenko, who has won her last 7 Eastbourne matches, will next face World No 36 Anhelina Kalinina for a spot in the semi-finals after the Ukrainian took out No 16 seed Yulia Putintseva from Kazakstan, 6-3 2-6 6-3, in just under 2 hours on Wednesday evening.
In the doubles, Serena Williams continued her comeback trail with a second win alongside Ons Jabeur secured a 6-2 6-4 victory over Shuko Aoyama & Chan Hao-ching and reach the semi-finals at Devonshire Park.
The 40-year-old played her first match on Tuesday since she sustained a serious injury to her right leg at Wimbledon last year and despite a rusty start showed flashes of her brilliance.
Williams stepped things up a notch a day later with an array of winners and aces to send a warning to her rivals ahead of a latest pursuit of a 24th grand-slam title.
It took only 2 minutes for the American to send down an ace and several volleys minutes later provided the first break.
More followed with the opening set wrapped up in 25 minutes, much to the delight of those still left inside Centre Court with the sun fast setting, but Aoyama & Chan put up more of a fight in the second.
“I think we played together much better today, although I felt we played really well together yesterday,” Williams said on court. “Ons really helped me out playing so good.”