Harriet Dart stuns Donna Vekic to reach Nottingham Open second round

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 (Getty Images for LTA)
(Getty Images for LTA)

Harriet Dart wants to speed back towards a spot in the world’s top 100 after stunning Croatian ace Donna Vekic at the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham.

The Hampstead star, 25, toppled former world No 19 Vekic 6-4 6-3 in the first round to kickstart her Midlands campaign in style.

Dart soared up to a ranking of world No 99 in March and while she has slipped out of the top 100 in recent weeks, the Londoner knows a run deep in Nottingham can catapult her back up the standings.

Asked if she was targeting a return to the world’s top 100, the British No 3 said: “Yes, for sure. At the end of the day, I want to win matches week in, week out and then the rankings will take care of themselves.

“For me, it’s just more of a focus on each match as it comes.“I don’t really have too many goals for this grass court season – I want to enjoy each match, put in good performances, win against each player and try to do it each match.

“Clay is not my best surface, and that’s something I hope to improve on.

“But I know I can play a really good level on grass – it doesn’t take much to swing a match and today has definitely given me some confidence.

“I knew I had to bring my A-game today and in patches I did play really well.

“I’ve definitely made strides in the right direction – I’ve had a little bit of a rough period recently but it’s great to get a win on the board on home soil.”

Dart came flying out of the blocks against Vekic – the current world No 90 – to take the first set 6-4.

And she carried on where she left off in the second to complete a comfortable straight sets triumph with a 6-3 victory.

 (Getty Images for LTA)
(Getty Images for LTA)

Dart toppled reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu, 19, in the last 64 of the Nottingham event last year before the Bromley ace embarked on a remarkable rise to the Grand Slam summit.

And speaking about her compatriot’s journey, Dart - who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, the highest level of support for players aged 16-24 – added: “She’s had an amazing run.

“All of us British girls practice together so I was aware of her – I was always expecting a tough match last year but I managed to come through.“What she’s been able to do over the last year has been remarkable.

“I think anything is possible - anyone can play a good level at any given day and beat anyone. Consistency is the key for rankings.

“Everyone can play good tennis – it’s about doing it every match. Emma has had an amazing year.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website.

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