Hampstead's Dart sees Rothesay Open run end in battling defeat
- Credit: PA
Harriet Dart’s magical run at the LTA’s Rothesay Open Nottingham came to an end after a battling defeat to American No.6 seed Alison Riske in three sets.
The 25-year-old from Hampstead had saved three match points on her way to victory over Camila Giorgi in the previous round, clinching a place in the quarter-finals of a WTA event for the first time.
And she showed that fighting spirit against Riske, coming from a break down to take the first set before eventually succumbing 4-6 6-2 6-1.
While Riske, who is coached by Englishman Tom Gutteridge, was eventually able to pull away, she paid tribute to Dart, who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme – the highest level of support for players aged 16-24.
She said: “Today was an absolute battle. Harriet played some awesome tennis and I think I’m quite fortunate to get through this one. I’m definitely excited to be in a semi-final, to be able to play another match and thank you to everyone who came out.
“I was so preoccupied with what Harriet was going to do to me that (the conditions) were the least of my concerns. It was challenging at times but my biggest challenge was Harriet herself.
“Harriet is awesome on all surfaces but I think she has a great game for grass. She changes direction really well and it was a battle. I’m fortunate to be victorious today.”
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Dart looked like she might pull off another upset when she reeled off four straight games to come from 4-2 down to claim the first set.
But Riske, who is seeking a fourth WTA title, responded by breaking early in the second set, doing so again to set up a decider.
Dart was broken at 2-1 in the third, and when an immediate chance to break back went begging, that signalled the end of her hopes with Riske finishing off the job in style.
The American added: “I still have two matches to go so my biggest concern is getting ready for the next one. It’s the ultimate goal (to win the tournament) but I can’t get ahead of myself.”
*For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website.