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Dart excited to earn clash with World No.1 Barty

 

Flying high: Harriet Dart celebrates her win at Wimbledon
Flying high: Harriet Dart celebrates her win at Wimbledon
Ashleigh Barty

By Andy Sims

Harriet Dart moved into more uncharted territory as she reached the Wimbledon third round for the first time - and booked a meeting with World No.1 Ashleigh Barty.

The 22-year-old, whose first-round win over Christina McHale was her maiden victory at the All England Club, beat Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-1.

An impressive display illustrated the strides Dart has made since she was demolished 6-0 6-0 by Maria Sharapova at January's Australian Open.

It also made up for the disappointment of her mixed doubles partner Jay Clarke, with whom she reached the semi-finals last year, opting at the last minute to link up with 15-year-old sensation Cori Gauff instead.

"That's in the past. I've just got to look forward. I'm just concentrating on my singles," she said.

"I'm just learning from all the experiences that I'm having this year. Everything is still pretty new for me.

"This is my second Wimbledon. I'm still finding my feet. I'm definitely proving that my tennis is definitely right up there with the level.

"I'm just doing the best that I can. I'm just really excited to play my next match.

"It's super exciting and a great opportunity for me. I have nothing to lose. She's a great champion. She won the French Open, and she won in Birmingham.

"So it's an exciting match for me and another great opportunity to get out there and do the best that I can."

Serving at 5-4, World No.182 Dart was two points from clinching the first set but Haddad Maia broke back and then held to take the lead for the first time.

A bold service game from Dart took the set into a tie-break and she claimed it impressively.

Dart, whose ankle was already strapped following a fall in her first match, required further treatment during the changeover and on the resumption promptly dropped serve.

They exchanged breaks again before Haddad Maia went on to level the match.

At 1-1 in the decider Haddad Maia took a medical time-out for a hip problem and Dart, sensing her chance, stepped on the gas.

A showdown with in-form Australian Barty beckons on Saturday.

Barty said: "I haven't played with her before, and I haven't hit with her. So obviously it will be a little bit new for both of us.

"I wouldn't be playing a British crowd, I'm playing against Harriet.

"She'll get more support being in Britain, as I would if we were in Australia. It's no different."

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