|Australian Open 2019|
|Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-27 January|
|Protection: Every day reside commentaries on the BBC Sport web site, hearken to Tennis Breakfast each day from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 reside sports activities further and watch highlights on BBC TV and on-line from 19 January.|
British quantity two Katie Boulter confirmed her high quality to win the Australian Open’s first final-set tiebreak and beat Russian former semi-finalist Ekaterina Makarova.
Boulter, 22, thought she had gained after reaching seven within the decider – earlier than realising it was the primary to 10.
She composed herself to clinch a 6-Zero 4-6 7-6 (10-6) win.
However fellow Britons Harriet Dart and Heather Watson suffered heavy defeats on the opening Grand Slam of the 12 months.
Dart, 22, fell to a chastening 6-Zero 6-Zero defeat by five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova as they opened the match on Rod Laver Area.
Watson, 26, fared little higher, shedding 6-1 6-2 to Croatian 32nd seed Petra Martic in scorching situations that she mentioned had made her really feel light-heated.
Boulter will face one other powerful check within the second spherical when she faces Belorussian 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka on Wednesday.
Boulter comes out firing
Boulter first got here to prominence when she gained her first Grand Slam match at Wimbledon final 12 months. Since then she continued to climb up the rankings and broke into the world’s high 100.
That enabled the 22-year-old from Leicester to realize direct entry right into a Grand Slam essential draw for the primary time in Melbourne – and he or she demonstrated her expertise towards 30-year-old Makarova.
“Being right here on rating offers me confidence,” Boulter mentioned.
Boulter hit 53 winners – in comparison with simply 16 from the opposite aspect of the web – in a strong show which notably showcased her ferocious forehand.
The Briton, who’s ranked 97th, wanted simply 26 minutes to take the primary set as Makarova regarded a shadow of the participant who reached the 2014 US Open semi-finals and the final 4 in Melbourne 4 months later.
Makarova – now ranked 60th on this planet – recovered to edge a decent second set, clinching it with a break to like as Boulter’s service recreation disintegrated.
However Boulter possess a steely willpower and used that to dig deep on a number of events within the last set.
The pair traded breaks to remain degree halfway by way of the set, earlier than Boulter missed 4 break factors in a marathon recreation which Makarova ultimately held for 4-3.
Boulter saved two herself within the following recreation, then missed one other for a 6-5 lead, however put that behind her to come back out firing within the tie-break.
With a pro-British crowd behind her, she raced right into a 5-Zero lead and, after celebrating when she went 7-Four forward, regained focus to say victory in two hours and 24 minutes.
“I forgot it was first to 10,” Boulter mentioned.
“I ended up getting the win, I most likely would have been devastated had I not. However I’ve received to take it light-heartedly now. At the least I do know the rule now!
“It is very powerful to turnaround since you’ve launched and suppose you have gained the match.
“Then you need to get again to work and dig deep. I am fairly happy with myself.”
Nerves received the very best of me – Dart
Dart gained three matches final week to qualify for a spot in the primary draw of a Grand Slam for the primary time, being rewarded with a tie towards her “idol” Sharapova.
However she says she was overcome by nerves on Melbourne Park’s 15,000-capacity present court docket Laver.
The Londoner solely gained 29 factors as Sharapova, seeded 30th, wanted only one hour and two minutes to succeed in the second spherical.
“I believe nerves received the very best of me however I attempted my greatest and that is all I might do,” Dart informed BBC Sport.
“She hits an enormous ball and it comes at you fast. She does not provide you with something so it was at all times going to be tough.
“I am glad to have these experiences and hopefully get extra of huge experiences on large levels.”
Watson ‘wants to enhance psychological half’
Watson was tearful when she spoke to the media following her third successive first-round defeat at a Grand Slam.
The previous world quantity 38, who’s now exterior the highest 100 and was changed by Boulter as British quantity two on Monday, didn’t rule out hiring a sports activities psychologist to enhance the psychological aspect of her recreation.
“The psychological half is basically necessary. I really feel everybody right here can play tennis however it’s about confidence and believing,” she informed BBC Sport.
“I’m going to look into something I can enhance on.”