World No.4 Aryna Sabalenka escaped a valiant challenge from 219th-ranked British wild card Katie Boulter in the second round of Wimbledon 2021. Sabalenka, who was playing her first match of her career on centre court looked very nervous in the start but managed to bounce back in time to win in three sets 4-6,6-3,6-3 and enter the third round.
The second seed has an amazing power game from the baseline but made too many unforced error early in the match which shifted the momentum in the Brit’s favor. Boulter had the crowd’s backing and was pushing Sabalenka deep in the court to create an opportunity on the net. She held the decisive break and won the opening set 6-4.
Sabalenka settled her nerves after the first set and served pretty well in the second. She was taking the lead in the rallies all of a sudden and was troubling Boulter with her powerful baseline winners. She soon got a break and consolidated it to win the set 6-3. The third set too started with a lot of intensity from both the players.
Boulter threw herself around, digging deep on every point but Sabalenka had found her rhythm. She got the decisive break and broke the Brit again in the 9th game to win the set 6-3.
‘I was very nervous today’: Aryna Sabalenka
In the on court interview, Sabalenka addressed the crowd and said how happy she was to be able to play in front of the fans. “It would’ve been really weird if you guys would’ve supported me more than her. So I kind of expected this. But it was really tough match today. She is an unbelievable player and it was really really tough match.”
“It was a great atmosphere. I enjoyed from the beginning till the end no matter what was the score. Thank you guys for coming here and supporting us. We really missed you. So thank you. And yes, I am happy with this win,” she added.
She was then asked about her nerves playing for the first time on centre court to which she replied: “Of course I was very nervous today. Especially in the beginning but I am happy that I found my rhythm back in the second set and won this match. But it was a really tough one.”
Sabalenka then asked the fans will they support her in the next round like they did today to which the fans cheered. One thing is for sure, the second seed will have the fans’ backing in the third round on Friday.