By Ros Satar
- Harriet Dart v Dalila Jakupovic | First Meeting
- Katie Boulter and Heather Watson both withdraw from main draw
MONTERREY, MEXICO – Harriet Dart finds herself the only Brit left in the singles draw after both Katie Boulter (viral illness) and Heather Watson (left rib injury) had to withdraw.
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Harriet Dart v Dalila Jakupovic | First Meeting
Harriet Dart finds herself in the mode of only Brit standing in singles action this week on the main tour. With Davis Cup Group II action taking centre stage on the men’s side, and with British No. 1 Johanna Konta saving her clay court start for Rabat later in the month, Monterrey looked to be stacked with Brits with Katie Boulter, Heather Watson and Dart all in main draw action.
However, as qualifying came to a close on Monday, Watson and Boulter both had to withdraw ahead of their opening matches, leaving Dart to take on a potentially tricky customer in Dalila Jakupovic. The Slovenian made things very tense for Konta in their Fed Cup encounter in what proved to be a tight week for the Brit. She had to guts out many wins to help GB into the World Group play-off to be held later this month.
Where Jakupovic was at her best was punishing any weak serves sitting up nice and short, and it is a testament to her path up the ranks that she does not give up. The Slovenian was a talented teenager, but freely admits that when she left to join an academy, she became quite lazy. She works with her father as her coach and at the time pushed back a lot at his guidance, but now seems to have rounded into a far more solid player, and hit the Top 100 during the grass court season last year.
In Dart she will find a tenacious package. She has pace on her groundstrokes, and the depth and precision can catch many out. While Jakupovic has the experience on paper, Dart’s force of will is often enough to set people back on their heels (think Karolina Pliskova in the first round of Wimbledon last year) and if she gets the element of surprise, she could do some damage.
She wisely dropped down to the Croissy-Beaubourg ITF tournament, reaching the semi-final so has the confidence of a few wins behind her, whereas Jakupovic has advanced in the main draw of a tournament just once this year, in Dubai, despite often good runs in qualifying beforehand.
Prediction: Dart in three sets.
Dart and Jakupovic are scheduled on Cancha 4 at 10am (5pm BST).
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