Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2024
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British Wimbledon star ranked world No.298 banks £143k payday with upset | Tennis | Sport


Sonay Kartal is one of the new faces leading the British charge at Wimbledon, storming into the third round while banking a whopping £143,000 with her 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 gritty victory over Clara Burel, setting up a mouthwatering clash with Coco Gauff.

Kartal was ranked world No. 298 coming into the tie and had already defeated Romania’s 29th-seed Sorana Cirstea 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 in her first professional match win on Monday.

The 22-year-old broke her French opponent for 4-2 in the first set, a disappointing double-fault from Burel was enough to send the SW19 crowd into raptures as they spurred on a home star who is very quickly becoming a recognisable figure around the hallowed Wimbledon grounds.

The second-set break came much sooner, with Kartal setting out to exert her dominance early, breaking Kartal on her very first serve of the contest.

Rain had caused delays on a match that was scheduled to start at 11am but did not finish until 3.50pm, but the Brit was in no mood to stick around and her opponent was left feeling deflated, several wayward forehands prompted a worried glare into Burel’s coaching box.

Then the double-break followed and after never winning a Tour-level match before entering Wimbledon, Kartal was on the verge of a third-round finish and a blockbuster tie with American star Gauff.

Second-seed Gauff dispatched Anca Todoni 6-2, 6-1 on Centre Court earlier in the day before Kartal’s place in the tie was confirmed.

But Kartal should not go into the match with any fear. A complete performance against Burel saw her give very little away, only a handful of unforced errors, but they were complemented by an aggressive playstyle that had her opponent struggling.

That quickly changed, however, and panic began to set in when Kartal led 40-0 and 4-2 up. Burel fought back for a vital hold and then immediately broke back twice. The Brit was coasting towards a win but now had to dig deep against a rejuvenated opponent.

Serving while down 5-4, Kartal survived a lengthy battle at duece to hold, and threatened to break Burel only to come just undone and all momentum was with Burel going into a decider.

Then suddenly in the third, when both players had been strong on their serve, Kartal broke. She was fortunate when her forehand crashed into the net cord only to bounce up onto Burel’s side of the court.

She apologised, but there was no mistake when she promptly served to love in the next game, moving inches away from the biggest match of her career against Gauff.

Some net cord aid once again helped Kartal hold and then had a chance to break on match point, which she duly converted with a neat backhand to spark jubilant scenes on No. 3 court.

Fans at Wimbledon may not have been aware of who Kartal was when she pitched up for her clash with the world No. 45, but a classy performance showcased exactly why Gauff should be wary in the next round.



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