Harriet Dart and Joe Salisbury defeat Watson and Kontinen at Wimbledon
- Credit: PA
Speedy Harriet Dart and Joe Salisbury flew out of the blocks to catch 2016 Wimbledon champions Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen cold in the first round of the mixed doubles.
Dart is a member of the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, which provides world-class coaching, medical and financial support to Britain’s elite young players with the potential to reach the top 100 within five years.
The Londoners toppled Dart’s women’s doubles partner Watson and Finnish ace Kontinen 6-1 7-6 (3) to give Salisbury a chance of adding Wimbledon to his French Open mixed doubles title from earlier this year.
“I know that Henri can sometimes be a little bit like that, he’s quite relaxed in general so I guess sometimes he can start a little bit slow,” said Salisbury.
“I was surprised he wasn’t serving [well], he served a lot better in the second set, so it was good that we got that break in the second game.
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“They are a very good team; they’ve won it together so it would be tough, but I thought we played quite well.”
Dart helped Watson recover from a painful first round singles exit, which she said left her in tears, when they beat Kaia Kanepi and Zhang Shuai yesterday.
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But the 24-year-old handed the Guernsey star another defeat on Court 3.
“It’s funny we hang out a lot together, spend a lot of time together,” said Dart, ranked world No. 142 in doubles.
“Even before the match we were hanging out in the changing room together and when you get out on the court you put that all aside and play to win.
“We both had tough first round singles matches, especially Heather having such a long gruelling match.
“But we both bounced back really well and played some really good tennis in our first round match and we look forward to our next match, but I’m just happy to have got the result today.”
It was the second straight sets triumph of the day for red hot Salisbury after he got his eye in by winning 6-1 6-2 with Rajeev Ram against Laslo Djere and Gianluca Mager in the men’s doubles.
“I was feeling good, I don’t mind playing mixed on the same day because whenever you play two on the same day you are seeing the ball pretty well,” revealed Salisbury.
“And as long as you are not too tired from the first one then you usually are feeling pretty good, so I’m happy with how I’m playing and how I’m feeling on the court.”
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