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 appeared to forget the deciding tie break would be first-to-10 format
Katie Boulter made history at the Australian Open when she featured in its first ever elongated deciding tie break, but appeared unaware of the new rule in a dramatic end to her first-round match.
There was a happy ending for the British No 2, who finished a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 winner over the experienced Ekaterina Makarova when she clinched the tie break 10-6.
But that was not before she had falsely celebrated upon reaching 7-4, apparently so absorbed in the moment that she forgot that deciding tie breaks are now played first to 10 at this event.
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 momentarily was thrown by the prospect of having to win some more points and was pulled back to 7-6, but helped by an ace at 8-6 went on to sieze an outstanding victory.
This was a hugely encouraging performance from the world No 97 from Leicestershire, who on this evidence will go considerably higher.
She exhibited real power and penetration from the back of the court, hitting 53 winners to beat the 30 year-old Russian, who has a fine pedigree at this event, having made the last-16 or better on seven occasions.
The pivotal game came at 3-3 in the decider which went to eight deuces with both players starting to feel the heat.
The British No 2 was in control before being pegged back 6-4 in the second by Makarova
Boulter displayed nerves of steel and had a powerful weapon in her vicious forehand
Boulter had four break points and on the third of them the British player hit what looked like a winning shot onto the line, only for it to be called out. The replay she called for showed that it had indeed landed on the line.
It can be a cruel game and the Russian held on. While often being outhit from the baseline, Makarova cleverly brought her opponent in with shorter angled balls, and Boulter was less comfortable with that than clubbing it from the back of the court.
Yet with admirable fortitude Boulter, coached by ex-British No 1 Jeremy Bates, regathered herself under pressure in the next game to take the match to the new format tie breaker which will be used in both men’s and women’s events here.
She raced to 5-0 but against displayed composure when her opponent fought back to 5-4.
The hard earned win took two hours and 24 minutes in steaming conditions, including a 78-minute deciding set.
Her reward is a very difficult second round against the highly rated Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus.