Katie Boulter digs deep on Wimbledon return to make winning start

Katie Boulter in action

Katie Boulter marked her return to Wimbledon by becoming the first British winner of the 2021 tournament.

The 24-year-old missed the Championships in 2019 with the back problem that plunged her out of the top 100 after a breakthrough season the previous year.

Boulter is ranked down at 219 but she is undoubtedly a better player than that and has shown on many occasions that big stages bring the best out of her.

She had a kind draw against American qualifier Danielle Lao, making her Wimbledon debut at the age of 30, but had to battle from a set down to win 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-4.

The victory earned Boulter a shot at second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who defeated Monica Niculescu earlier.

It was attack against defence as Boulter, who had her right elbow strapped, unleashed her powerful groundstrokes.

But Lao did a good job keeping the ball in play and, although Boulter fought back from 2-5 and then 4-6 in the tie-break, it was the American who clinched the opening set.

Boulter finally made the breakthrough she was looking for midway through the second set but then trailed 3-1 in the third before winning five of the last six games.

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