Harriet Dart wants back in the top 100 after a storming LTA Rothesay Open win

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Harriet Dart celebrates after winning against Donna Vekic of Croatia during the Women's Singles First Round match on day 3 of The Rothesay Open at Nottingham Tennis Centre. (Getty Images for LTA)
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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.

The Hampstead star, who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme – the highest level of support for players aged 16-24 – toppled former world No.19 Vekic 6-4 6-3 in the first round to kickstart her Nottingham campaign in style.

Dart, 25, soared up to a ranking of world No.99 in March before a tricky clay court season saw her fall just outside the globe’s coveted top 100.

The Londoner knows a run deep in the Midlands can catapult her back to the big time and hopes her Monday triumph can lay the foundations for another red-hot rise.

Asked if she was targeting a spot back in the world’s top 100, Dart 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.100 – 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.

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 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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