Harriet Dart’s Australian Open hopes ended by Iga Swiatek as Heather Watson wins

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Harriet Dart’s hopes of pulling off a first-round upset at the Australian Open were denied as she was outclassed by No7 seed Iga Swiatek.

But there was brighter news for Heather Watson as she came through a tight three sets in her opener against Mayar Sherif to win 6-3 5-7 6-2.

Dart, meanwhile, had come through three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw of the Australian Open and got off to the perfect start on Tuesday as she broke the 2020 French Open champion to take a 2-1 lead.

But Swiatek turned both the set and the match as she increasingly dominated, from there Dart winning just one more game all match on Rod Laver Arena.

It continued the Briton’s record of enduring tough draws at the Australian Open having been drawn against Maria Sharapova in the first round back in 2019 and then Simona Halep two years ago.

“I’ve always had some really rough draws,” said Dart afterwards. “But I think I started well today and then it was tough, she found her rhythm. I kind of let her dictate me and, once you do that against such a high-quality player, it’s really tough to come back from that.

“These are the kind of matches you do play tennis for. You do find out where your level is at straight away against such a big opponent. Hopefully I can put myself in a position where I can do better in these matches and just keep improving my game.”

Dart’s exit out of the tournament was a second for a British player after Cameron Norrie lost in the opening round to Sebastian Korda on Monday.

Watson, meanwhile, took the opportunities when they arose for the most part. While her first serve was temperamental, she converted six of 12 break-point chances in a contest which ebbed and flowed to become the first Briton into the second round in Melbourne.

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