21 year-old Harriet Dart claimed her biggest title to date by winning the $25k Ak Ladies Open in Altenkirchen, Germany.
Dart, who had to come through two rounds of qualifying, defeated the higher seeded Karolina Muchova 7-6 6-2 in Sunday’s final. Victory for Dart is the Brit’s best ever title, and follows Gabriella Taylor’s earlier success at the Perth Tennis International 2.
The British number nine came into the final having won the pair’s only previous meeting at the $100k Surbiton Trophy in 2017. After a tight first set, which saw three breaks of serve for each player, it was Dart who came through a tense tie-breaker 7-5 to take the lead in 52 minutes.
From then on, the Brit was in charge and showed nerve and determination to save all three break points on her serve to come through the second set with ease. Dart, who has struggled with injuries in the past, will be looking to build on a fantastic week in Germany as she heads to Yokohama ahead of the Keio Challenger Women’s International Tennis Tournament in the first week of March.
Three former top 100 players
Dart had to come through a qualifying draw that included former top 100 player Akgul Amanmuradova. After beating Amanmuradova 6-0 3-6 6-2, Dart then faced another former top 100 player in qualifier Katarzyna Piter in the main draw.
After beating the Pole in straight sets, Dart showed that her quality isn’t perhaps shown through her ranking, after easing past 6th seed Anna Zaja of Germany. Her Quarter Final performance against former world number 66 Mandy Minella, who herself is returning from maternity leave, was impressive. Dart was able to recover from a breadstick down in the opening set to beat the Luxembourg star 1-6 6-1 6-4.
Once she had reached the Semi Final, there was no looking back as Dart failed to drop a set as she won her biggest career title. Victory will give Dart confidence to continue competing at higher ranked ITF tournaments. The Brit certainly has the ability to break new ground this year and, with an injury-free run, she could be on her way to finally break inside the top 200.