Wimbledon | Brilliant Brit Boulter upsets Pliskova, again

Wild-card Katie Boulter fought from a set down to upset last year’s finalist Karolina Pliskova on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Thursday for her biggest-ever career win, and it wasn’t the first time she had done it.

It was nice to get acquainted in my first match under the roof. Never seen it before, never played underneath it. It took a few minutes to get used to, for sure. The first few service games, I think, from maybe both of us, were a little bit dodgy. I was just getting used to my ball toss. It was nice to play a different match. Different conditions. Obviously the courts are different than last week, they're a lot slower. Katie Boulter

In an emotional interview on court, the British No 3 dedicated her win to her late grandmother, who died just 2 days ago, as she fought back tears.

Boulter, ranked 118, produced a stunning performance to topple the 6th seed, who is a former World No 1, to reach the 3rd-round of The Championships for the first time in her career..

Although she dropped the first set, Boulter roared back to win 3-6 7-6(4) 6-4 in front of a packed and delighted home Centre Court crowd, and she will face Harmony   from France next, who outlasted Serena Williams on Tuesday night.

“I’ve got no words right now, I’m literally shaking,” the 25-year-old from Leicester said after the match. “The crowd was unbelievable, thanks so much for getting me through that.

“I’m going to get emotional… my gran passed away two days ago, and I’d like to dedicate that to her today.

“It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve hopefully got many more matches to play.

“If I’ve got you guys behind me for those, hopefully, I can go a long way. Thank you so much. Thank you.”

Boulter has excelled on grass for a second straight summer, plus she has now achieved back-to-back wins over Pliskova, having also beaten her at Eastbourne last week.

Surprisingly, the roof was closed for the contest, which had puzzled Boulter, since there was no rain.

“It was definitely a change,” she said. “I didn’t know until maybe five minutes before I went on the court.

“It was definitely relevant. It was nice to get acquainted in my first match under the roof. Never seen it before, never played underneath it.

“It took a few minutes to get used to, for sure. The first few service games, I think, from maybe both of us, were a little bit dodgy. I was just getting used to my ball toss.

“It was nice to play a different match. Different conditions. Obviously the courts are different than last week, they’re a lot slower.

“But, yeah, it was a little bit of a surprise for me because I didn’t really know about the weather either.

“Obviously it’s not my job to make that call. Ultimately it’s the people that put the tournament on.”


Karolina Pliskova won the first set but could not ward off Katie Boulter on Day 4 of The Championships

© Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The 25-year-old started brightly, breaking the Czech’s serve, but Pliskova’s class soon became apparent, and the indoor conditions appeared to suit the World No 7 as she reeled off 5 games in a row, before Boulter gradually found her range and got a fix on how to deal with the Czech serve.

She needed this to drop a level to get back into the match, and that happened early in the second set as double-faults gave the Brit breaks for 3-1 and 4-2, but she was still broken straight back both times.

Holding firm to force a tiebreak, Boulter made the perfect start by winning the first 4 points before Pliskova responded with 3 in a row, but the Brit, who had noticeably begun to go for a little bit more on her groundstrokes, kept her nose in front and claimed her second set point.

The 25-year-old’s talent has never been in doubt, but staying fit consistently has so far proved difficult and kept her outside the top 100 for most of her career.

In the decider, Boulter showed her class, holding Pliskova off before making the crucial break to lead 5-4, and she then nervelessly served it out, planting a final volley into the open court and pumping her fists in delight to the delight of the home crowd.


Harmony Tan got past Sara Sorribes Tormo to set up 3rd-round match with Katie Boulter but landed in hot water with her doubles partner

© Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images

Boulter takes on Tan next, who was a 6-4 6-3 winner over Sara Sorribes Tormo, the No 32 seed from Spain, but she has got herself into hot water with her German doubles partner, Tamara Korpatsch, after the Frenchwoman pulled out of their opening match at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

The pair had been scheduled to face Raluca Olaru & Nadiia Kichenok but Tan withdrew just hours before the contest with a thigh injury.

Tan had stunned 7-time singles champion Williams on Centre Court the night before, emerging the victor in a 3-set epic that lasted over 3 hours, but Korpatsch took issue with the action, claiming it was not fair on her on social media.

Later, Korpatsch posted that the two had worked things out and that she would delete her previous post, but she appeared to condemn Tan again, after the Frenchwoman won her 2nd-round singles match against Sorribes Tormo.

“Congrats @tanharmony for a win against another great player,” she wrote, alongside the clapping emoji. “Amazing week for you. I’m glad your leg injury [got] better so quickly.”

Korpatsch had never competed in the main draw of a doubles Grand Slam before, and had focused predominantly on singles during her career.

The 27-year-old was knocked out in the 1st-round of this year’s singles main draw by Britain’s Heather Watson.


Heather Watson thinks Wimbledon is trying to kill her with its scheduling

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Watson, the British No 4, is into the 3rd-round and faces Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan after her straight-sets victory against Wang Qiang on Thursday, completing a match that started on Wednesday, 7-5 6-4, in just 8 minutes.

Watson joked that Wimbledon was trying to kill her with its scheduling as she has been made to play on all 4 days of the tournament so far.

The Brit’s first-round match against Tamara Korpatsch on Monday on No 1 Court was suspended at 1-1 in the first set because of the 11pm curfew, and she returned the following day to secure a 6-7(7) 7-5 6-2 win.

The 30-year-old was given another late start on Wednesday for her 2nd-round clash with Wang Qiang, which was suspended again due to bad light. when Watson was just one game away from winning the match at 7-5, 5-4 but was made to return on Thursday, when she wrapped up the win up quickly.

“Honestly I’m not coping very well any more,” Watson told the BBC. “I got less than four hours sleep last night, and they’ve scheduled me tonight not before 6pm for doubles.

“I think they’re trying to kill me here to be honest.

“Firstly I couldn’t see, for the last four games neither of us could see the ball, they kept us on court until it was almost pitch black. So that was really tough to deal with.

“When I was trying to serve it out all I was focusing on was trying to hit the ball because I could barely see it.

“Last night, I was just trying to wind down because it was so late, and I had to be back at 10.30am, that’s not a lot of time to rest and recover.

“It’s tough to just go to sleep on command. You’re thinking about a lot, the match is still going on, the adrenaline. I was trying to wind down and it just didn’t work.”

Watson has reached the third round at Wimbledon for the 4th time in her career and she is looking to progress into the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.

“I respect every single person in the draw. Everyone can play tennis,” she explained. “You see upsets, especially in the women’s game, just constantly now because the strength and depth is so big.

“But, yeah, I do see it as an opportunity, just like I saw today as an opportunity. And also I think when people look at the draw and see me at Wimbledon on grass, it’s not an easy draw either. But again, she’s probably thinking the same.

“Hopefully it will be a much better match than the US Open, because I wasn’t there that day.”


Jessica Pegula came from a set down to defeat an irritated Harriet Dart on Thursday

© Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

British No 2, Harriet Dart, however, was less fortunate as she bowed out to 8th seed Jessica Pegula, 4-6 6-3 6-1, having started the match in a flurry and later admitting frustration at how she let the American back into the match.

A major upset had been on the cards when Dart took a 4-1 lead, but Pegula worked her way into the match as the 25-year old Brit became increasingly irritable, batting balls away as they were thrown to her by the balls kids, and having a protracted debate with the umpire over an American Hawk-eye challenge on match point, which she felt came too late.

It all added up to a disappointing end to a fine grass court season for Dart, who reached the first quarter-finals of her career in Nottingham and Eastbourne.

Pegula, who is the daughter of Terry and Kim Pegula, the owners of the Buffalo Bills NFL team and the Buffalo Sabres, an NHL team, has an estimated net worth of $4.9billion (£4billion) and admits that carving out her own identity on tour has been a motivating factor in her career.

The World No 9 meets Petra Martic next after the Croatian took out Kristina Kucova from Slovakia, 7-6(4) 6-3.


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