International Tennis Shrewsbury

Dart's Winning Start

Pictured: Harriet Dart was a 6-2, 6-0 winner in her first round match at The Shrewsbury Club. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.


Harriet Dart, the British number three, enjoyed a winning start at The Shrewsbury Club as she eased through to the second round of the Budgen W100 Shrewsbury tournament. Dart, currently 143 in the world rankings, took just an hour to complete a 6-2, 6-0 victory over French qualifier Nahia Berecoechea in the DMOS People Arena. 

"It’s always tricky, the first round,” said Dart. "Last week I played outdoors and I’ve only had one practice day indoors, so, yes, just trying to adjust and I felt like I adjusted pretty quickly and it was quite a smooth sailing match.”

On being back at The Shrewsbury Club for this week’s ITF World Tennis Tour event, Dart, 27, added: "I think seven years ago was the last time I was here. It’s super exiting to be back in front of the home crowd. 

"It’s a great event and Dave Courteen does such an amazing job here. Each year it gets better and better, and there’s always improvements. 

"Whenever you think it can’t get better, it does, and it’s great that there’s people that come and watch. Sometimes, even with the higher events, there’s not as many people as there is here."

Seeded four in Shrewsbury, Dart is not looking too far ahead, preferring to take one match at a time.

"Of course, I would like to win the tournament,” she said. "That’s what I’m here to do, but that’s a long way away. 

"It’s just match by match and before that it’s point by point, so I got over the first hurdle and now have got the second hurdle.”

Dart faces an all-British clash in the second round tomorrow against Amarni Banks, a 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 winner against Katy Dunne, another British player, in a match between two players handed main draw wild cards this week.

Isabelle Lacy, the other Brit in action as the first round matches were completed today, lost 6-4, 6-1 to top seed Viktorija Golubic.

Lacy, 17, had impressively beaten Golubic, 31, on grass at the W100 Ilkley tournament in June.

But this time Golubic, a silver medallist playing doubles alongside Belinda Bencic at the last Olympics, and a member of the Switzerland team crowned Billie Jean King Cup champions in Glasgow last November, emerged as the winner. 

Golubic, who reached the Wimbledon singles quarter-finals in 2021, will next play Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan, a 6-1, 6-2 winner against Gabriela Knutson, in the second round.

Elsewhere today, there were first round victories for Australian third seed Olivia Gadecki, who recovered from losing the opening set to get the better of Margaux Rouvroy, to set up a round two meeting against Barbora Palicova.

Czech Republic player Palicova reached the quarter-finals in Shrewsbury last year when her run was ended in three sets by Marketa Vondrousova, who went on to win the title and to also be crowned Wimbledon champion just eight months later.

Andre Lukosiute of Lithuania and Switzerland’s Simona Waltert, the eighth seed, also progressed to the last 16 with victories today. 

Dart against Banks is not the only all-British clash in round two tomorrow, with Lily Miyazaki, the British number five, facing talented 14-year-old qualifier Hannah Klugman.

Tomorrow’s matches start at 10am with Oceane Dodin, two time Shrewsbury champion, taking on Marina Melnicova on Court 3, with matches on the other courts starting at 10:30am. The first match on the DMOS People Arena will be Katie Swan taking on Suzan Lemans from the Netherlands.