Katie Boulter claims historic win over Ekaterina Makarova at Australian Open

Katie Boulter claims historic win over Ekaterina Makarova in first ever 10-point final set tie break at Australian Open to reach the second-round

  • Katie Boulter emerged triumphant 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 over Ekaterina Makarova
  • She clinched the tie break 10-6, but thought she had won at 7-4 up
  • British No 2 forgot that the deciding tie break was the first-to-10 format

Mike Dickson for MailOnline

Katie Boulter made history at the Australian Open when she featured in its first ever elongated deciding tie break, but appeared unaware of the new rule in a dramatic end to her first-round match.

There was a happy ending for the British No 2, who finished a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 winner over the experienced Ekaterina Makarova when she clinched the tie break 10-6.

But that was not before she had falsely celebrated upon reaching 7-4, apparently so absorbed in the moment that she forgot that deciding tie breaks are now played first to 10 at this event. 

Katie Boulter lets out a roar after claiming a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 win over Ekaterina Makarova

Katie Boulter lets out a roar after claiming a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 win over Ekaterina Makarova

Boulter pumps her fist as she cleans up 6-0 in the first set against Ekaterina Makarova

Boulter pumps her fist as she cleans up 6-0 in the first set against Ekaterina Makarova

She momentarily was thrown by the prospect of having to win some more points and was pulled back to 7-6, but helped by an ace at 8-6 went on to seize an outstanding victory.

Boulter admitted afterwards that she was so caught up in the match that she had forgotten the new format that has been brought in this year. ‘The umpire said it at six games all but I was so focused I didn’t process it,’ she commented later.

‘I had seen things on Twitter and stuff but it’s so hard to know what is going through your mind at that time, it’s very difficult to think about it. I was so in the moment I forgot.

‘I thought I did really well and I’m proud of myself for digging deep after that. I probably would have been devastated if I had lost but I can laugh about it now.’

The British No 2 was in control before being pegged back 6-4 in the second by Makarova

She had good reason to be delighted with her performance: ‘Being here on ranking has given me a lot of confidence. I put so much work in last year to get to this point. I knew the match would be high quality level and my body held up really well.’

This was a hugely encouraging performance from the world No 97 from Leicestershire, who on this evidence will go considerably higher.

She exhibited real power and penetration from the back of the court, hitting 53 winners to beat the 30 year-old Russian, who has a fine pedigree at this event, having made the last-16 or better on seven occasions.

The pivotal game came at 3-3 in the decider which went to eight deuces with both players starting to feel the heat. 

Boulter had four break points and on the third of them the British player hit what looked like a winning shot onto the line, only for it to be called out. The replay she called for showed that it had indeed landed on the line.

Boulter displayed nerves of steel and had a powerful weapon in her vicious forehand

Boulter displayed nerves of steel and had a powerful weapon in her vicious forehand

Boulter and her opponent embrace at the net after the two-hour-24-minute match

Boulter and her opponent embrace at the net after the two-hour-24-minute match

It can be a cruel game and the Russian held on. While often being outhit from the baseline, Makarova cleverly brought her opponent in with shorter angled balls, and Boulter was less comfortable with that than clubbing it from the back of the court.

Yet with admirable fortitude Boulter, coached by ex-British No 1 Jeremy Bates, regathered herself under pressure in the next game to take the match to the new format tie breaker which will be used in both men’s and women’s events here. 

She raced to 5-0 but against displayed composure when her opponent fought back to 5-4.

The hard earned win took two hours and 24 minutes in steaming conditions, including a 78-minute deciding set. 

Her reward is a very difficult second round against the highly rated Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus. 


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