British wild card Boulter stuns Pliskova at Wimbledon while Swiatek made to fight for win

World No 118 dedicates shock victory to grandmother who died two years ago, as Polish top seed is taken to three sets by Pattinama Kerkhove

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British wild card Katie Boulter provided Wimbledon with its big shock of the day when the world No 118 defeated sixth seed Karolina Pliskova on Centre Court.

Pliskova reached the final at the All England Club last year when she lost to the now retired Ashleigh Barty and the Czech has 16 WTA titles to her name, but has yet to win a Grand Slam.

Boulter had only reached the main draw of a Slam seven times, making it to the second round on three of those occasions – twice at Wimbledon and once in Australia.

But the 25-year-old secured the biggest win of her career last week when she beat Pliskova at Eastbourne – the first time Boulter had beaten a player in the world's top 10.

And she then took it to a new high on Thursday after defeating the same player 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 to earn a place in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

“I have absolutely no words right now,” said Boulter. “I am literally shaking. The crowd was unbelievable so thank you for getting me through that.

“I'm probably going to be getting emotional. My grandmother died two days ago so I'd like to dedicate that to her today.

“It's a dream come true for me and if I can have you behind me I can probably go a long way.”

Pliskova broke twice in the opening set to establish a firm grip on the match but Boulter won the second-set tiebreak to level.

A single break in the decider was enough for the British player, who hit 25 winners, to seal the match.

She will now face Serena Williams's conqueror Harmony Tan on Saturday after the French player beat Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo, seeded 32, 6-3, 6-4.

Top seed Iga Swiatek was made to work for her third-round spot after being taken to three sets by world No 138 Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove before securing a 37th win in a row.

The world No 1 might have expected an easier ride against the lucky loser who was playing her first match against a top 10 player – never mind a world No 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion.

But Pattinama Kerkhove proved a thorn in Swiatek's side, taking a 4-2 lead in the opening set before the Pole used her booming forehand to take the next four games.

The Dutchwoman, who lost in the final round of qualifying before taking injured Danka Kovinic's spot in the main draw, then claimed the first break in the second set and went on to level the match.

But Swiatek quickly took charge of the decider before going on to secure a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win and a third-round match against France’s Alize Cornet.

With that victory, 21-year-old Swiatek surpassed Monica Seles’ 36-match winning streak from 1990 and matched Martina Hingis’ 37-match run from the beginning of the 1997 season.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova advanced to the next round by beating Ana Bogdan of Romania 6-1, 7-6.

Kvitova, seeded 25th, led 5-1 in the second set and had her first match point while serving at 5-4, but she converted the second when Bogdan sent a backhand into the net.

The Czech, who came into the tournament after winning the grass-court tune-up at Eastbourne, will now face a crunch clash with Paula Badosa. The fourth-seeded Spaniard swept aside Irina Bara 6-3, 6-2 to set-up the match with Kvitova.

Another British player, world No 109 Heather Watson, matched her best Wimbledon singles performance with a 7-5, 6-4 win against China's Wang Qiang after bad light had brought proceedings on Court 18 to a premature end at 9pm the night before.

It will be the fourth time – but the first in five years – that Watson has made the third round at the All England Club and she will take on world No 62 Kaja Juvan of Slovenia.

Updated: June 30, 2022, 6:41 PM
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