Harriet Dart could overtake Emma Raducanu as British No 1 after biggest win of her career at US Open


Harriet Dart had never won a match in the US Open main draw before Monday – GETTY IMAGES

Harriet Dart scored the best win of her career at the US Open and edged closer to potentially overtaking US Open champion Emma Raducanu as the British No 1.

Dart, 26, had never won a main draw match in New York before Monday, but managed to upset world No 9 Daria Kasatkina of Russia over three gruelling sets.

Despite winning the first set tiebreak, Dart then trailed 3-1 in the decider and looked on her way out of the tournament. But she won five games in a row, fending off two break points when serving for the match, and wrapped up the match 7-6(8), 1-6, 6-3 with a powerful forehand down the line.

It is Dart’s best ever win based on ranking, and also earned her valuable points which could see her become the British No 1 for the first time in her career by the end of the tournament.

If Raducanu were to lose her first round match on Tuesday, and with it the 2,000 ranking points she is defending hereDart would be 11 points short of her total and just one win away from the British top spot.

“Oh really? To be honest that’s not something I think about,” she said.

“It’s more about just day in and out putting my best out there and trying to get my ranking up slowly but surely. But if that happens great. It would be an amazing thing to be able to do, but for me it’s just about day in and out and focusing on what I can control.”

Dart next faces Dalma Galfi, the world No 91, in the second round - GETTY IMAGES

Dart next faces Dalma Galfi, the world No 91, in the second round – GETTY IMAGES

Dart has a good chance of delivering in her second round. She will be the favourite, ranked marginally higher than opponent and world No 91 Dalma Galfi of Hungary.

Jack Draper also got off to a winning start, beating Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-4 6-3 6-3 in his US Open debut. It was a rematch of their tie at Queen’s, where Ruusuvuori got the better of Draper in the fourth round.

Draper has risen significantly in the rankings, to 53rd, since and taken confidence from big-name wins. He will need to deliver another in the second round against sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Elsewhere on Monday Kyle Edmund suffered a straight sets defeat to world No 7 Casper Ruud, in his first singles match at a major in two years.

During his lengthy time off the courtformer British No 1 Edmund had wondered whether he would ever play again, such was the severity of his serious knee injury. His latest surgery was only 11 weeks ago, but he used his protected ranking to enter the main draw here.

Despite the time away, the former world No 14 put up a decent fight against Ruud, who was a finalist at the French Open in June. In fact Edmund, 27, went up a break immediately in the opener, and had more opportunities later on in the set to move ahead, but Ruud broke him in the eighth game and held on to take the lead.

Edmund was playing his first singles match at a major tournament for two years - USA TODAY SPORTS

Edmund was playing his first singles match at a major tournament for two years – USA TODAY SPORTS

Edmund pushed the second set to 5-5, his forehand back to its blistering best and he moved well. But he looked rusty at some key moments in the match, only winning two of eight break points. When Ruud took the second set it was one-way traffic, and he eventually won 6-3, 7-5, 6-2.

Edmund’s ability to compete at this level again will be heartening though, after such a lengthy injury. He has spent the summer in the US, including playing events on the Challenger Tour – a step down from the tour level – in order to get the match time he needed to regain his fitness.

The biggest shock of the day session was seventh seed and two-time major champion Simona Halep’s early exit to Ukrainian qualifier Daria Snigur. Former Wimbledon junior champion Snigur, 20, held her nerve and fended off a Halep comeback to eventually serve it out at the second time of asking, 6-2 0-6 6-4. She burst into tears at the conclusion, gesturing to the blue and yellow Ukraine ribbon pinned to her chest during her emotional celebrations.

The night session brought more surprises, with fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas thrashed by Daniel Galan of Columbia, losing the first 11 games before falling 6-0 6-1 3-6 7-5. Tenth seed Taylor Fritz was also ousted, and Tsitsipas reflected that the pressure of seeing the tournament more open than ever – with Novak Djokovic’s absence and Rafael Nadal’s form still unknown – may have got the better of him.

“I won’t lie, I was very motivated and pumped before the US Open started because I knew I could use this tournament to get closer to the No 1 spot,” Tsitsipas said.

“It would be very weird if it didn’t cross my mind, this is something I’ve wanted since I was a kid and I knew this was my chance to step it up. It just didn’t go as planned. Sometimes maybe you just need to let go, not overthink it, or push yourself too hard.”

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