Hampstead's Harriet Dart happy to progress at Viking Open

Harriet Dart plays a forehand shot against Emma Raducanu at the VIking Open in Nottingham

Harriet Dart plays a forehand shot against Emma Raducanu at the Viking Open in Nottingham - Credit: Getty Images for LTA

Hampstead tennis ace Harriet Dart was happy to get through her first round encounter with Emma Raducanu at the Viking Open Nottingham WTA250 event on Monday.

In her first grass court outing for nearly two years, the 24-year-old world-ranked 143 overcame her practice partner in the young up-and-coming Raducanu, 18, from Bromley 6-3, 6-4 in a pretty solid display.

And tennis was the latest sport in this country to welcome back fans to venues following the cancellation of last year's summer grass court events due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It also marked the return of a tour level international grass court tournament always traditionally been a build-up to The Championships at Wimbledon.

Arsenal fan Dart, the British number three, will next face American Lauren Davis, 27, the world number 86, in the last 32 on Wednesday, but is in doubles action before that with Naomi Broady as they take on fourth seeds and USA-Japan pairing of Kaitlyn Christian and Nao Hibino.

On her victory, Dart said: "I'm just so excited to be here.

"Two years ago we had that awful weather and I played two matches indoors so it's really nice to come and play on this really nice court and have fans. 

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"It's never easy playing a fellow Brit and someone I practice with. To be honest, I'm just happy to be able to get through. I showed some glimpses of better tennis but there is a lot to improve on.”

Dart is one of 12 players on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme (PSP) which is the highest level of coaching, medical and financial support offered to developing players by the national governing body.

It is offered to players aged between 16 and 24 with the best chance of reaching the ATP/WTA top 100 singles within five years.

Also in Nottingham Camden Town's James Ward was eliminated in the opening qualifying round of ATP Challenger Tour event to Romania's Marius Copil in straight sets.

The 34-year-old could feature in the qualifying rounds of next week's prestigious Cinch Championships at Queen's Club, West Kensington.

You can follow the Viking Open Nottingham on the BBC red button service and also the LTA's official website.