Harriet darts through to the second round at Wimbledon

Harriet Dart was the first British winner on day two of this year’s Wimbledon after she produced an accomplished display to beat Chinese qualifier Bai Zhuoxuan in straight-sets.

First up on Court 18, Dart had to be patient against the world number 95 and survived an hour’s rain delay before she claimed a 6-4 6-0 win.

It sets up a second-round tie with compatriot and familiar foe Katie Boulter, who beat Tatjana Maria later on Tuesday.

Harriet Dart smiles at the crowd as she goes to pick up her bag after her victory
Harriet Dart did not hang around after the match restarted following a rain delay (Zac Goodwin/PA)

This was Dart’s ninth match of a productive grass-court season after a fine run to the quarter-finals in Eastbourne, but an early double-fault hinted at nerves.

A 99mph ace helped settle the 27-year-old from Hampstead and chances started to be created on Bai’s serve, with two break points squandered in the eighth game not long after the umpire asked a ball girl to collect a champagne cork from the lawn.

After a superb forehand winner clinched an important hold from deuce at 5-4, Dart broke Bai to take the opener despite light drizzle failing across SW19.

The impetus was with the British number two now, playing under the watchful eye of Anne Keothavong and LTA chief Iain Bates, and a wonderful cross-court winner forced an early break at the start of the second.

Dart’s momentum was checked after five games in a row when the rain started to get heavier and play was suspended at 12.11pm.

An hour’s delay followed but it failed to knock the Londoner off her stride with an excellent return winner arrowed down the line securing another break for Dart.

Victory was sealed when Bai double-faulted to suffer a bagel as Dart booked her place in the second round of Wimbledon with an impressive 78-minute triumph.

“For me a big goal was just trying to get through round one. Last year was I would say heartbreaking for me,” Dart said with reference to her first-round loss to Diane Parry in 2023.

“I knew that coming into here, no matter how well you’ve done, no matter how even badly you’ve done, this is a new week, a new opportunity.

“The courts are different, the surroundings are different, conditions are different. It’s all about trying to adapt as quickly as possible.

“Being British, as well, you have the added pressure I would say a little bit, but I always try and embrace it as much as I can.

“It’s such a special and unique opportunity to play here at Wimbledon. It’s what I dreamt of when I was a little girl, being here. Sometimes I have to keep pinching myself that I’m here.”