Wimbledon | Boulter wins as Burrage, Watson and Kartal exit

Four British women were in action on Wednesday, when The Championships was playing catch-up for Tuesday’s rain washing out the matches on the outside courts, but only Katie Boulter made it into round 2 as Jodie Burrage, Heather Watson and Sonay Kartal were shown the exit doors by Daria Kasatkina, Barbora Krejcikova and Madison Keys.

We really didn't know what to do in that situation but I think we both handled it really well – it's never happened before to me. I stayed and kept my head really good in that time frame as it was a crucial point – that then gave me momentum going forward. I really had to work hard to focus on myself and stay in the moment – I felt like I did really well to get through it. Katie Boulter

Boulter had her match against Daria Saville on Tuesday suspended overnight with the score at 5-6, but she returned to dominate the Australia to win 7-6(4) 6-2, despite the efforts of Just Stop Oil protesters to disrupt proceedings by invading Court 18 and scattering orange confetti.

Burrage found herself on Centre Court facing a nightmare scenario against Kasatkina, the World No 10 who was a finalist at Eastbourne on Saturday, and was swept aside 6-0 6-2, although she posed a credible threat to the Russian at the start of the second set.

Watson, watched by the retired Sue Barker, went down to Krejcikova, the No 10 seed, 6-2 7-5, having had chances to snatch the second set from the Czech, while Kartal, who is a decade younger than the former World No 38 and represents the next generation of domestic talent, suffered a similarly comprehensive defeat against 25th-seeded American Madison Keys, going down 6-0 6-3.


Katie Boulter helps ball boys and girls to pick up orange confetti thrown on Court 18 by a Just Stop Oil demonstrator, disrupting her match with Daria Saville on Wednesday

© Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Boulter, the British No 1, though, kept the flag flying with an impressive performance, maintaining a cool head and her focus to book a place in the 2nd-round at Wimbledon despite the distraction of the Just Stop Oil protest.

She trailed 4-2 in a first set tiebreak against her lower-ranked opponent when a Just Stop Oil protester ran onto the court and scattered orange-coloured confetti and jigsaw pieces from a ‘Centre Court View’ puzzle box all over the playing surface.

The protester was arrested and escorted off by police, leaving 29-year old Boulter and Saville helping court stewards and ball boys to clear the debris before the contest resumed around 10 minutes later.

The delay seemed to allow Boulter to reset, and she turned the tables to win the next 5 points in the breaker and take a one-set lead before cruising to a comfortable win in the second.

The World No 89 admitted later that the timing of the stoppage may have swayed the momentum.

“There were a lot of emotions because I didn’t really know what to do in that situation – it’s not something I’ve been through before,” she said. “Naturally, my first instinct would have been to try and help get everything off the court.

“But. at the same time, I have to remind myself to focus, to keep in the moment and keep trying to keep my eye on the ball and not drop it. It’s a really key moment for us – I had to win the next point or else there’s a lot of air between us.

“I tried to keep myself very level-headed and stay as focused as I could. I’m not really sure if [the timing] helped or not – obviously I won a lot of points after that. It was a really tough moment for both of us and a bit of a shock to the system.

“We really didn’t know what to do in that situation but I think we both handled it really well – it’s never happened before to me. I stayed and kept my head really good in that time frame as it was a crucial point – that then gave me momentum going forward.

“I really had to work hard to focus on myself and stay in the moment – I felt like I did really well to get through it.”

Boulter can reap the reward of her mindset by taking on Bulgarian World No 99 Viktoriya Tomova in the 2nd-round.


Jodie Burrage (R) was outclassed by Daria Kasatkina on Centre Court in the 2nd-round of Wimbledon

© Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Centre Court, Burrage, the British No 2, faced her nightmare scenario in the opening match, and was outclassed by Kasatkina, the 11th seed.

The 24-year-old arrived with high hopes after reaching the Nottingham final last month, and then defeating American Caty McNally on Monday for her first win at a Grand Slam, and a likely place in the Top 100.

The Brit, though, found herself staring down the barrel of a humiliating ‘double-bagel’ in the 2nd-round after dropping the first set without winning a game, but she briefly recovered her composure in the second before the Russian powered past her.

Burrage, who later admitted to nerves, got off to a slow start, winning just 3 points in the opening 4 games, and double-faulting 3 times to give Kasatkina a 4-0 lead.

She then brought up a break point in the next game, but a slip on the baseline proved costly, and, before she knew it, the first set was over in 19 chastening minutes.

Kasatkina held again at the start of the second, before Burrage finally got herself onto the board, raising her arms in mock celebration in front of David Beckham sitting in the Royal Box.

“It was a good experience,” Burrage said later. “Obviously not the result that I wanted. The first set was pretty brutal, but all in all, you dream to be out on Centre Court. When I found out yesterday, it’s so exciting.

Burrage did go on to clinch a break of serve to lead 2-1, but it was a false dawn as she was unable to hold serve before a rain delay.

“I mean, having the people who were in that box out there watching you. I actually didn’t see who was in there,” added Burrage. “When you’re on the court, it’s hard to see who is in there. You don’t want to really look and stare.

“Then during the rain delay, they obviously had the cameras around, and in the room we’re in I obviously saw David Beckham was announced. ‘Oh my God, David Beckham is watching me play tennis right now’. And I was at 6-0, 2-2.”

Despite offering up some admirable resistance upon the resumption after the roof was closed, Kasatkina clinically closed out the match.

“I was nervous to play on the best court in the world, it’s a special moment,” said Kasatkina, who was unable to play the Grand Slam last year due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players. “I felt the electricity inside, and it was difficult to handle it, but I am happy how I was able to do it.”

Kasatkina will next play 19th seed Victoria Azarenka or Nadia Podoroska.

As for Burrage, she is notching it up to experience: “In the same breath, you’ve got to deal with those nerves as well. I wish I could have settled a little bit earlier today. But you’ve got to go through these experiences to feel more comfortable in the next ones.

“So, yeah, it was a tough day, but also one of my dreams come true.”


Barbora Krejcikova (R) dispatched Heather Watson in straight sets on Wednesday

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

On No 1 Court, 31-year old Watson was lifted by Sue Barker’s presence, who had returned to Wimbledon after fronting the BBC’s coverage of The Championships for 30 years.

While unaware at that time, Watson was delighted to discover she had been in the presence of a true stalwart of The Championships on her 13th appearance at Wimbledon.

“No, I didn’t know. I only look at my box really and there was one young girl on that opposite side that I just, I don’t know, I kept hearing her, so I started fist pumping to her, using her energy, as well,” Watson said. “I didn’t know Sue was there, but I absolutely adore her. She’s such an amazing person.

“I didn’t know, but I love her. I admire her so much. I think she’s absolutely brilliant. She’s someone I really look up to.

“Yeah, she’s so supportive of me. She sends me messages during the year in support. I’m really grateful for that. I will text her now.”

Watson, the World No 144, had arrived in SW19 in good form after a strong grass-court season that saw her make the semi-finals of the Rothesay Open in Nottingham last month, but the draw was unkind.

The British No 5 made the Last 16 in 2022, her best run at the All England Club, but came unstuck at the first hurdle this time, as Krejcikova, the former French Open champion, flew out of the gates and stormed to a one-sided first set in 35 minutes, before Watson fought back, pushing the Czech all the way in the second.

She forced 2 break points in the 9th game, but could not take them, and the 10th seed later broke to seal a straight-sets victory.

“I feel like I was playing much better this year than I was last year,” a philosophical Watson admitted. “You know, it just happens with draws sometimes.

“On the day, yeah, she was much better today. She was really, really good. It’s disappointing, because I know how well I’m playing. But I need a little bit of luck along the way.

“I mean initially coming off the court, really upset. I felt deflated, disappointed. I look forward to these moments so much now.

“For it to be over in the first round, this is just not how I envisaged it, not what I want, but it was tough. It was always going to be a tough ask, tough match against, you know, 10th in the world, grand slam champion.”

Watson’s Wimbledon adventure is not over yet, though, as she is set to compete in both the doubles and mixed doubles.


Eastbourne champion Madison Keys saw off Sonay Kartal on Court No 3 on Wednesday evening

© Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Kartal lost out to Keys, the 25th seed and Rothesay International Eastbourne champion, on Wednesday evening on No 3 Court.

The 21-year-old put up a strong fight against the World No 18 but eventually fell short as the American sprinted to a straight sets win in an hour and 16 minutes.

In round 2, Keys awaits the winner of the match between Viktorija Golubic from Switzerland and Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.


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