Harriet Dart’s hopes of continuing her run at the US Open have ended, following a disappointing 6-3 6-1 defeat to Ana Bogdan.
Despite starting confidently, the Briton, who surprised many to come through qualifying, simply didn’t have enough against the Romanian, who also entered the tournament as a qualifier.
Holding serve well, Dart was looking every bit as strong as the former top 100 player, until the seventh game of the opening set. Serving at 3-3, Dart suddenly felt the pressure, double faulting to hand her opponent a break point. After saving two, Dart then had advantage but couldn’t capitalise as Bogdan sensed her opportunity and finally broke.
Dart then collapsed, losing eight straight games to fall 5-0 behind in the second set. Doing well to save match point on serve, Dart couldn’t convert her only break point as Bogdan served out to proceed to the second round.
Time for Dart to push on
It’s been a truly unexpected year for Harriet Dart. The Londoner has exceeded expectations and has a real chance of breaking into the top 100 before the close of the year. Her run in New York should see a small climb towards her career high of 121, and Dart must take confidence into the Asian swing if she is to start maintaining this level of play.
Of course there is a lot of work still to be done. There are times where you feel Dart is waiting for her opponent to make errors and she sometimes struggles to really command matches. Shot variation is one of Dart’s strong points: she’s comfortable at the net and is happy to switch play, but you still feel she needs more clinical shots in her arsenal if she is to make the step as a regular at this level.
For now, Dart should hold her head up high with pride. It’s been a rocky road, filled with injuries and comebacks (she’s come a long way since winning Altenkirchen as a qualifier), and her presence in the main draw of Grand Slams is most welcomed. Her attitude is second-to-none and the determination is there, so let’s hope there’ll be no need for qualifying in Melbourne in 2020.