Home » Understudies upstage number ones as Norrie and Dart win battles of Britain

Understudies upstage number ones as Norrie and Dart win battles of Britain

Understudies upstage number ones as Norrie and Dart win battles of Britain

British number ones Jack Draper and Katie Boulter crashed out of Wimbledon as understudies Cameron Norrie and Harriet Dart stole the limelight with second-round victories.

Norrie last month surrendered his status as Britain’s top-ranked men’s player to Draper but gave a timely reminder of his talents by beating his compatriot in straight sets.

Dart earlier fought back tears and from 6-2 down in the deciding tie-break to stun rival Boulter in the first of Thursday’s Court One battles of the Britons.

Harriet Dart, pictured, came out on top against Katie Boulter
Harriet Dart, pictured, came out on top against Katie Boulter (John Walton/PA)

Meanwhile, world number 277 Jacob Fearnley gave Novak Djokovic a brief scare on Centre Court before succumbing to an entertaining four-set loss.

British number two Norrie will meet world number four Alexander Zverev in round three following his 7-6 (3) 6-4 7-6 (6) win over pre-match favourite Draper.

“It was not easy coming out here today to play Jack, he’s been playing so well and we’re such good friends off the court,” said 28-year-old Norrie, a semi-finalist in 2022.

“I felt I was a little bit of the underdog coming in, so I was pretty relaxed. I was happy with my level, played really physical. It’s nice to get through.”

Dart, the British number two in the women’s rankings, went from despair to joy as she battled back from the brink to beat Boulter 4-6 6-1 7-6 (8) in a nail-biting, error-strewn encounter.

The 27-year-old is into the last 32 of the Championships for the second time, where she will meet China’s Wang Xinyu.

“I knew it was always going to be tough,” said Dart.

“We played each other a few weeks ago and it didn’t go my way. I wear my emotions on my sleeve so you see everything how I’m thinking. I’m so happy to go through.”

Katie Boulter, left, and Harriet Dart embraced following their second-round clash at Wimbledon
Katie Boulter, left, and Harriet Dart embraced following their second-round clash at Wimbledon (John Walton/PA)

Boulter, who made 75 unforced errors and struggled to find rhythm, shared a hug with Dart at the net following tension between the pair after recent meetings.

“Look, we’re Billie Jean King Cup teammates, we’ve been through this long journey together,” said Boulter. “I wish her the very best. I hope she goes far in this tournament.

“I had a tough day at the office. I’ve just got to take it on the chin.”

British number 13 Fearnley took a set off Djokovic but fell short of causing a seismic shock.

Seven-time champion Djokovic was made to work hard for a 6-3 6-4 5-7 7-5 win before joining in with a standing ovation for impressive Edinburgh-born 22-year-old Fearnley.

“He played very good tennis and deserves a great round of applause,” said the Serbian number two seed.

“All in all this match potentially deserved to go into a fifth, particularly with the way he played in the fourth. But I’m very glad it didn’t.”

Fearnley said: “I was playing the greatest tennis player of all time on Centre Court, Wimbledon, so it’s very difficult to be too disappointed.

Jacob Fearnley, right, fell short of a seismic shock against Novak Djokovic
Jacob Fearnley, right, fell short of a seismic shock against Novak Djokovic (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I’m going to stay down to earth. At the end of the day, I lost the match.”

Wild card Lily Miyazaki won only 19 points as she suffered a rapid straight-sets defeat to world number 12 Daria Kasatkina in Thursday’s opening contest.

Tokyo-born Miyazaki bounced back from the 50-minute 6-0 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Eastbourne champion with victory alongside compatriot Emily Appleton in the women’s doubles.

“I definitely went through highs and lows of sport today,” she said.