Katie Boulter claims historic win over Ekaterina Makarova in first ever 10-point final set tie break at Australian Open to reach the second round
- Katie Boulter emerged triumphant 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 over Ekaterina Makarova
- She clinched the tie break 10-6, but thought she had won at 7-4 up
- British No 2 forgot that the deciding tie break was the first-to-10 format
Next time Katie Boulter will know what to do if she gets into a deciding tiebreak, having carved a small piece of Australian Open history when making the second round.
And should she get close enough to make it happen in her next match against Aryna Sabalenka we will really know that we have a player on our hands.
The muscular world number eleven is widely tipped as the new big thing in women’s tennis, and if the British number two can somehow run her deep into a third set it will be quite an achievement.
Katie Boulter lets out a roar after claiming a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 win over Ekaterina Makarova
Boulter pumps her fist as she cleans up 6-0 in the first set against Ekaterina Makarova
She has already attracted attention, scoring an outstanding 6-0 4-6 7-6 win over Melbourne specialist Ekaterina Makarova, which came with a dramatic ending when she forgot the new sudden death tiebreak format, this match being the first ever to require one.
The 22 year-old from Leicestershire thought she had won the match when she hit a winner to go 7-4 up and raised her knee while fistpumping in celebration.
The only problem was she had overlooked the fact that this year you have to get to ten if the tiebreak is in the decider, and she had to mentally reset before finishing it off 10-6.
The British No 2 was in control before being pegged back 6-4 in the second by Makarova
‘I was in the moment and I kind of forgot that it was first-to-ten,’ she admitted. ‘ I think it’s very tough to turn around, because you’ve just released and you think you’ve won the match, to get back to work and find a way. I thought I did that really well and I am pretty proud of myself for digging deep.
‘She [the umpire] actually said it at the end of six-all, I just didn’t hear it because I was so focussed on myself and in the zone that I didn’t process it.
‘ I ended up getting the win, I probably would have been really devastated had I not. A couple of people have mentioned in to me [via phone messages] and I can laugh it off now, but at least I know the rule, so it definitely won’t happen again.’
This curiosity apart, Boulter had put together probably the finest performance of her career, against a Russian lefthander who excels at this event, having reached the fourth round or better on seven previous occasions.
Boulter displayed nerves of steel and had a powerful weapon in her vicious forehand
Boulter and her opponent embrace at the net after the two-hour-24-minute match
It was enough to make you think that that Boulter, coached by former British number one Jeremy Bates, will go considerably higher than her current position of 97 with her easy power off the ground.
Contrastingly it all ended in tears for compatriots Harriet Dart and Heather Watson. Dart, who had done admirably well to come through qualifying, found her serve absolutely crunched by Maria Sharapova and, although she was competitive in the rallies, she was handed the dreaded double bagel, 6-0 6-0.
Watson was also in tears as she contemplated what is now a serious career slump that sees her outside the world’s top 100. In the course of losing 6-1 6-2 to 31st seed Petra Martic she needed to call the doctor out on court.
‘I have been feeling anxious, wanting to do well. It was hot out there and you cannot be tense,’ she said. ‘I felt faint and a bit dizzy on court. It’s not the first time it has happened. It happens quite a lot, especially in these conditions and when it’s high stress.’
More broadly she admitted: ‘I cannot continue like this. Tennis is lots of ups and downs. At the moment it’s not clicking. I didn’t enjoy that today, that’s for sure.’