Rising British stars Harriet Dart and Maia Lumsden are through to the second round of Nottingham’s Nature Valley Open — an LTA summer grass court event — after a rain-affected Wednesday saw all play move indoors for the third consecutive day.
It’s always difficult coming back from injuries. As much as you do all the work behind the scenes, playing a match is a little bit of a different situation with the movement, the adrenaline, the intensity of it. Harriet Dart
British No. 4 Dart saved three set points on her way to beating Belarusian Vera Lapko 7-6(7) 3-6 6-3 at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, before Glasgow-born Lumsden got past fellow Brit Tara Moore 6-3 7-6(3) to record the first WTA win of her career.
Having struggled with injury in the past month, Dart battled through in two hours and 26 minutes to notch her maiden Tour-level singles victory of the year and set up a meeting with sixth seed Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia.
The 22-year-old, whose match against Tomljanovic is scheduled first on Centre Court on Thursday, said: “I’m really happy to be through. They were difficult conditions, moving indoors, but it was just important for me to control what I can control and play my game. I think I did that well. I regrouped well after the second set and managed to get through.
“It’s always difficult coming back from injuries. As much as you do all the work behind the scenes, playing a match is a little bit of a different situation with the movement, the adrenaline, the intensity of it. But I’m feeling good. I’m pain-free, so that’s the main thing. And I’m ready to play.”
While Dart’s GB Fed Cup teammates Katie Swan and Heather Watson fell at the first hurdle, wild card Lumsden earned a second-round match-up against top seed Caroline Garcia, which will be due up third on Centre Court on Thursday.
“To get the win in my first WTA match is a great feeling,” Lumsden, 21, said ahead of her clash against the former World No. 4.
“It’s really cool to be up against someone like that. She has been really high in the rankings — top five in the world — so it’s exciting for me to have a chance to see how I can do against her.”
Elsewhere in the WTA International event, there were wins for second seed and 2017 Nottingham champion Donna Vekic as well as Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari, with British qualifier Ryan Peniston reaching the third round of the concurrent ATP Challenger event after toppling second seed Bernard Tomic 7-6(2) 1-0 rtd.