Harriet Dart produced one of the biggest wins of her career to reach the second round of the US Open, beating the 10th seed, Daria Kasatkina, 7-6 (8), 1-6, 6-3 in a tough battle in the late afternoon.
As countless long, physical rallies unfurled during their two hours 30 minutes on court, Dart clinched victory by demonstrating her mental fortitude under pressure in the biggest moments.
In the opening set she saved two set points before clinching the prolonged tie-break. Kasatkina appeared to steady herself after that, winning a one-sided second set before breaking serve for a 3-2 lead in the third. Dart coolly responded by winning the final four games to seal the victory.
Currently ranked 88th, Dart has given herself a good opportunity to reach her first grand slam third round away from Wimbledon. She will next face Dalma Galfi of Hungary, who is ranked three places below her at No 91. Depending on how Emma Raducanu performs this week, more success for Dart in New York could see her leave the US as the British No 1.
Simona Halep’s hopes of continuing her career resurgence came to nothing as she was defeated 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 by Daria Snigur of Ukraine in the biggest upset of the opening day of play.
Although Halep reached the semi-final in 2015, the US Open is her worst grand slam event by a distance. But Halep had entered the tournament with high hopes after what appeared to be a return to form with her recent WTA 1000 title in Toronto.
Snigur, a 20-year-old who became junior Wimbledon champion in 2019, had come through the qualifying tournament to reach a grand slam main draw for the first time. Between her qualifying matches Snigur took part in the Tennis Plays for Peace exhibition event alongside numerous stars, which she suggested helped prepare her for such a big stage. “I’m very happy. I’m very, very, very nervous, but I tried to do my best,” said Snigur in an emotional interview.
While Halep fell, the 12th seed Coco Gauff moved safely into the second round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over France’s Leolia Jeanjean, marking her first career win in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Meanwhile Kyle Edmund’s return to grand slam singles competition against Casper Ruud ended with a competitive 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 defeat to the fifth seed. Daniil Medvedev, the top seed and defending champion, moved into the second round with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 win over Stefan Kozlov.
Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 champion, reached the second round with a 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 win over France’s Harmony Tan. Afterwards she apologised to her outfit sponsor, Nike, after her complaints about the comfort and fit of the outfit were picked up by the courtside microphones. As she attempted to convince the umpire not to count her outfit change as an official bathroom break, Andreescu said that Nike, not her, were to blame for her issues.
“I meant no disrespect with what I said to the umpire,” she said. “I was trying to convince him to not take away that washroom break, because I know we only get two. He was very nice to say it was totally OK. I could have definitely used a different choice of wording. So I apologise to anyone I disrespected. I love Nike and I hope I can be with them for the rest of my life.”