Harriet Dart is looking forward to improving her run at the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy after kicking off her grass court season with a battling win over Belgian Magali Kempen.
The Hampstead player, who is supported by the LTA’s PSP Programme, grabbed a 2-6 6-4 6-3 triumph against the qualifier on Wednesday afternoon.
Dart, 26, showed huge heart after a disappointing performance in the opening set as she looks to rediscover her grass court form from last season, where she reached the third round of Wimbledon for the second successive year.
The British No.4 will now face Tatjana Maria in the last 16 and believes her best is yet to come after shaking off some early cobwebs in West London.
“I definitely started a bit slower and I knew she was always going to be a bit tricky,” she said.
“She came through qualifiers and has had two matches, but I haven’t had any matches.
“You can practice as much as you want but at the end of the day, matches are key.
“I was just really pleased with how I fought and how I managed to dig out the win.
“She has had two matches, she is feeling confident, I didn’t start great and then especially on grass, it can get away quite quickly just because of the surface.
“I felt like she served really well and I didn’t really get an opportunity until the second set in the last game to break her.
“The difference is I was able to take it and then I went up a level.
“I don’t think I have played on the centre court for a couple of years – it’s big, it’s open and it is very windy.
“My footwork wasn’t great in the first set – I just tried to up the intensity and I found a way.”
Dart and Heather Watson suffered a doubles defeat against fellow Brits Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls earlier in the week at Surbiton.
And the North London star admits she was happy to battle over the line in her preferred singles format.
She added: “The goal this week is just to be able to get as many matches as possible.
“The other day we played doubles. I played pretty badly, but at least it happened there and not on the singles court.
“Momentum swings all the time and it is just about getting more and more matches under my belt.
“Last year was a great year for me, I had a great grass season and I know I can play a really good level – it is just about being able to do it consistently.
“It is just about building every week.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website