Plucky Harriet Dart falls to straight sets loss to world No 3 Simona Halep as last Briton standing bows out at the Australian Open
- Harriet Dart has crashed out of the Australian Open after losing to Simona Halep
- Dart, who was the last British hope remaining at the tournament, lost 6-2, 6-4
- She performed bravely but was ultimately outgunned and outclassed by Halep
They lowered the Union Jack as far as the British singles challenge at the Australian Open was concerned with Harriet Dart becoming the last player out.
The 23 year-old qualifier from Middlesex at least offered some defiance before she was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Wimbledon champion Simona Halep on a blustery Rod Laver Arena, bowing out of the second round after winning four matches in total over the past week.
It was a plucky effort but ultimately she was outgunned and outclassed by a high quality player who was nonetheless ruffled by her winning three straight games from 5-1 up in the second. Her exit followed that of Heather Watson earlier, making it second straight Australian Open without a Brit going beyond the second round.
Harriet Dart produced a plucky display but could not prevent defeat against Simona Halep
Dart broke Halep in her first return game of the match, thereby avoiding her fate of a year ago in the same stadium when she got ‘double bagelled’ by Maria Sharapova.
Her backhand was often the equal of her illustrious opponent and this was a far cry from twelve months ago, suggesting her game has improved.
She could have unraveled badly when Halep raced to 5-1 in the opener but kept fighting from the baseline.
Simona Halep ultimately had too much for the British star as she triumphed in straight sets
Dart was the last British hope left at the Open and followed Heather Watson in crashing out
The British player had chances to level at 5-5 but can take heart from the performance and was given a warm ovation when leaving the court.
It ought to be only a matter of time before Dart is heading towards the top 100 and her final points tally of 52-68 showed this was no pushover.
‘It was a bit dangerous and she started to play very well at the end so it was more difficult for me to hold it,’ said Halep.