Tennis: Dart lands dream Sharapova date at Australian Open
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Hampstead’s Harriet Dart was handed a dream draw against Maria Sharapova after qualifying for a grand slam for the first time at the Australian Open.
The 22-year-old Londoner continued her fine start to the season by recovering from a set down to beat 10th seed Ivana Jorovic 1-6 6-3 6-1, while Dan Evans made it eight British players in the main singles draws with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Paolo Lorenzi.
Dart, who grew up idolising Sharapova, said: “I’m super excited and happy. I’ve been playing good tennis and I’ve put a lot of hard work and effort into all my training, my pre-season, so I knew my level was there, it was just about piecing it all together.
“She came out of the blocks early very good. I managed to stay in there and found a way to win. That’s what I’m really proud of today.”
Dart only made her slam debut as a wild card at Wimbledon last year – taking a set off Karolina Pliskova and reaching the semi-finals of the mixed doubles.
You may also want to watch:
But for Evans this is familiar territory as the 28-year-old reached the fourth round on his last appearance at Melbourne Park in 2017, but will play in the main draw of a slam for the first time since his 12-month drugs ban.
Evans returned last April at a low-key Challenger in Glasgow and is already back in the world’s top 200, with the carrot of a second-round clash against Roger Federer if he can get past fellow qualifier Tatsuma Ito.
- 1 Covid, O2, police, village square, Notting Hill Genesis and the Suburb
- 2 Pictures: Fun for families as the snow arrives on Hampstead Heath
- 3 Women attacked by wrench-wielding man in Hampstead
- 4 South Hampstead neighbours mourn tree felled by Storm Christoph
- 5 Keeping your distance: Hampstead joggers and creperie crowds
- 6 Buyers claim luxury flats are 'nightmare' construction site
- 7 Haverstock Hill cycle lanes order scrapped by Camden Council
- 8 'Big victory,' says man behind Haverstock Hill cycle lanes legal challenge
- 9 Crouch End's 'Paul the Paper' bids farewell to Broadway stall
- 10 Ice cream shop supporting freelancers opens in Primose Hill
He said: “I’m happy. Obviously I knew when I got banned I would have to start at not a great tournament and hopefully make my way back up. I’m nowhere near where I want to be yet so it’s just another step in the right direction.”
There was no repeat of the remarkable winner Evans played from behind his back in his second-round win over Jurij Rodionov that has already been hailed as the shot of the year.
He agreed it was the best shot of his career, but added: “It was obviously very lucky. I just stuck my racket out basically and it went in.”