Sonay Kartal’s Wimbledon campaign may have ended in round one but she is still taking confidence from a solid grass court season.
Brighton’s Kartal, who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme, was back in the main draw for the second straight year after making her SW19 debut last summer.
And she was handed an enticing first round draw against 25th seed Madison Keys, a former quarter-finalist at the All England Club and recent champion at the LTA’s Rothesay International Eastbourne.
Keys is one of the biggest hitting players on the WTA Tour, and proved too hot for Kartal to handle in a 6-0 6-3 victory that sent the American through to the second round.
Kartal said: “Obviously I knew it was going to be a really tough match. She had a great week last week in Eastbourne – she’s in great form.
“Straight from that first point, she came out guns blazing. You know, I didn’t do too much wrong. She just played too well sometimes.
“In the second set I definitely had my chances, I think maybe I had seven break points or so. Overall, I’m fairly happy with my performance.”
After a successful summer in 2022, Kartal admitted she felt pressure coming into the grass court season this year.
But with results including a run to the last four of the LTA’s Lexus Ilkley Trophy, she believes she has got even better on the surface.
“I think if you compare my grass season this year compared to last year, I think I made huge strides in my game,” she added.
“For me, grass tennis is probably the surface that pushes me to do exactly what I need to do to get better. That’s to play more aggressive and flatten out a few shots. I think the grass season for me has been very beneficial.
“I knew I had a lot to do, and I didn’t make it easy for myself by doing it within four weeks. I have managed to back them up now. I have got a nice rest of the season, nothing to defend, so it’s almost like a free run for me.
“I’m looking to take advantage of that as much as possible.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website