Harriet Dart in the first round of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK
Harriet Dart in the first round of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK | (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Tennis | WTA Eastbourne 2023 | Dart edges past Zhang to set Ostapenko clash

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Harriet Dart [WC] def Zhang Shuai 7-5 6-7(5) 6-1
  • Dart v Jelena Ostapenko | H2H: First Meeting
EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND – Harriet Dart edged past Shuai Zhang in three sets to set up a blockbuster clash with Birmingham champion Jelena Ostapenko.


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Harriet Dart [WC] def Zhang Shuai 7-5 6-7(5) 6-1

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Harriet Dart is into the second round in Eastbourne after a crucial three set victory over Zhang Shuai. It was a poor start to the match from Dart who was looking for some last minute form heading into Wimbledon as Zhang’s aggressive start was rewarded with an early 3-0 lead.

Zhang wasn’t in the best form herself but tested Dart’s patience under pressure with some precise tennis. The Brit would quickly respond in the fifth game by recovering the break deficit before Zhang regained the break lead for a 4-2 lead. However Dart soon regained her composure by playing some resilient yet aggressive tennis as she took the match to Zhang as she secured the break back with the set level at 4-4.

This time there was some consistency from the Brit as she showed no signs of slowing down, raising her level towards the end of the set. Dart’s patience and consistent tennis earned her a break at 6-5 with the Brit converting her third set point to seal the opening set.

In the second set, Dart controlled the early exchanges as she produced efficient returning to create five break point opportunities in her opening four return games. It was fifth time lucky as Dart was seemingly cruising to victory as she had a 4-3 lead. In the crucial moments Dart had a lack of composure as she rushed her ideas and shot-making as she allowed Zhang back into the match.

Dart had the chance to close out the match after breaking for a 6-5 lead but more errors allowed Zhang to force a second set tiebreak. It was a tiebreak which Zhang dominated and just about won as this match was going to a third set.

However it was a clinical final set from Dart on return who managed to regain the momentum as she recovered from an early break down to win five games in a row and seal a place in the second round.


H2H & Match Fundamentals

Harriet Dart [WC] v Jelena Ostapenko H2H: First Meeting
WTA Eastbourne 2023 Eastbourne, England
Grass (O) Prize Money: $10,530
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Dart now has a tough test to negotiate through as standing in her way of a quarter-final spot is Birmingham champion Jelena Ostapenko.


Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2023 – Grass)

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H2H: Harriet Dart (WR 142) Jelena Ostapenko (WR 17)
Tournament Previous Best Quarter-Final (2022) Final (2021, 2022)
1st Serve Return Points Won % 36.4 34
Return Points Won % 43.7 43.9
Break Point Conversion % 50 48
Break Point Saved % 61.7 67.5
Total Points Won % 53.8 53.5

Dart has produced impressive statistics throughout the grass court season but will need to raise her level against an in-form Ostapenko.



Playing styles and prediction

Ostapenko is hitting form at the right time with the Latvian continuing to be a threat on grass courts. After reaching the final last year, Ostapenko has continued her impressive tennis on grass having just won the Birmingham title. Now Ostapenko will look to solidify her place as one of the dark horses for the Wimbledon title.

Dart will look to maintain her clinical efficiency on return and will need to put Ostapenko on the back foot as much as possible. Meanwhile Ostapenko will look to continue her precision on serve and maintain a consistent aggression from the baseline. This will be tough match for Dart and one she needs a good start in if she is to have any chance of sealing victory.

Prediction: Dart in three sets.


Petra Martic [LL] def Katie Boulter [WC] 6-4 7-5; Camila Giorgi def Heather Watson [LL] 6-3 6-4

Katie Boulter and Heather Watson will now turn their attention to Wimbledon after early exits to Petra Martic and Camila Giorgi in straight sets. Boulter produced a spirited performance but was ultimately outclassed by the powerful Croatian.

Meanwhile Watson was a late call-up to the main draw after Barbora Krejcikova withdrew and the Brit produced a competitive performance but ultimately lost to a strong performance from Giorgi.

Both players will look to receive favourable draws when Wimbledon starts on the 3 July.



How to Watch/Follow WTA Eastbourne 2023

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