Katie Boulter came away with “no regrets” after threatening a major Wimbledon upset against second seed Aryna Sabalenka on Centre Court.
Football fan Boulter, who supports Leicester and trained in an England shirt on Tuesday, had said she hoped the nation’s memorable victory over Germany would spur on Britain’s tennis hopefuls this week.
It certainly seemed to have done the trick for a set and a half for the 24-year-old, who looked on the verge of her biggest career win to date.
But Sabalenka came back to disappoint a raucous Centre Court crowd with a 4-6 6-3 6-3 second-round victory.
Not that the deciding set was a stroll for Sabalenka, although Boulter will rue a Hawkeye decision as she was about to walk back to her seat.
Sabalenka’s ball, called out, had in fact shaved the line by the width of a blade of grass.
Sabalenka duly broke – but in an epic seventh game Boulter forced six break points with some glorious shot-making, including an exquisite drop-shot and lob combination.
However, the 23-year-old from Minsk repelled the lot and brave Boulter’s chance had finally gone.
“I think my first and only takeaway is that it’s definitely the best court in the world,” said Boulter.
“I’d not had a chance to play on it yet, that’s my first time. I absolutely loved every minute out there. The crowd were incredible.
“I thought it was a really good match, one I won’t forget.
“I obviously felt like I had quite a few break-points and didn’t manage to take them. I also didn’t feel like I gave them away. She had to win them. She won them. Certainly I’ve got no regrets about that at all.
“Obviously I wanted to serve it out, make her win the match at 5-4. It would have been a fun game.
“But ultimately she played incredibly well today. I’ve got a lot of positives to take from it.”
Sabalenka said: “It was a tough match, she’s an unbelievable player. It was a great atmosphere from the beginning to the end.
“Of course I was nervous today and didn’t feel the court from the beginning but I’m glad I got my rhythm in the second set.
“I have one question guys, will you support me like this in the next round?”