Harriet Dart saluted the impact of the raucous Midlands crowd after battling through to a first career quarter-final at the LTA’s Rothesay Open in Nottingham.
The Hampstead ace, 25, clawed back a first set deficit to topple Italian Camila Giorgi 5-7 6-4 7-6 (3) and edge into the last eight of the grass court showpiece late on Thursday evening.
Dart delivered a dazzling display of mental fortitude when the pressure was on in the tie-break and believes the partisan home support helped haul her over the line.
The world No 114, who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme – the highest level of support for players aged 16-24 – said: “I can’t quite believe it and the crowd really helped me get through that tonight.
“Honestly, it’s all just a little bit of a blur and I really used that extra energy and motivation.
“I wouldn’t have got through this match tonight without you guys, so thank you so much.
“It’s huge because this is my first quarter-final, so to get over the line and do it on home soil is really special.”
Dart came into the Nottingham tournament off the back of a searing run into the world’s top 100 before a turbulent clay season saw her drop just out of the elite group.
She beat Donna Vekic in the first round on Monday before facing a rain-affected clash against Giorgi, 30, on Wednesday and Thursday.
The 2018 Wimbledon quarter-finalist seized the first set 7-5 but Dart rallied admirably to level 6-4.The rain delays meant the match did not reach its conclusion until late on Thursday evening but the home favourite kept her composure to battle over the line.
And Dart, who will now play American Alison Riske in Friday’s quarter-final, added: “[My form] tends to go up and down and anything can happen.“I honestly feel anyone can win on any given day - I’m just really happy to be through.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website.