Brit Katie Boulter reckons she takes inspiration from her Australian boyfriend Alex de Minaur – and she’s demonstrated shades of his never-say-die streak in causing a Wimbledon sensation 48 hours after a personal tragedy.
Centre court had been desperately seeking a new home heroine following the exit of Emma Raducanu – and found one the very next afternoon in Boulter, who came from a set down to to knock out last year’s finalist Karolina Pliskova 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.
Thursday’s second-round win was the biggest of Boulter’s career as the 25-year-old defeated the Czech who was Ash Barty’s final victim on her run to Wimbledon glory last year.
Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>
And Boulter revealed in heart-rending fashion to the crowd afterwards that it had come just two days after her grandmother had died.
The British No.3 has been enjoying a fine run on grass courts, having also beaten Pliskova in Eastbourne last week, but, with a dodgy forecast, this centre-court contest became an indoor affair.
World No.118 Boulter, who’d narrowly lost to eventual semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka on the same stage last year, then proceeded to nearly blow off the roof with her performance and the emotional address afterwards that left hardly a dry eye in the house.
Boulter revealed her grandmother had died just two days earlier.
“I’m going to get so emotional. I’d like to dedicate it to her,” she told the crowd.
Boulter, whose progress has been hampered by a series of injuries, says she’s taken heart and strength from de Minaur’s work ethic as Australia’s No.1 men’s player ever since they started going out more than a year ago.
“He is the epitome of a fighter and someone that goes out and gives their all every single day. That’s what I aspire to be like. He helps me do that. I’m a very lucky girl,” Boulter said.
The blonde baseliner then headed out to No.1 court to cheer de Minaur to a four-set victory over her British friend Jack Draper as the pair continued to write a romantic tale at SW19.
Elsewhere in the women’s draw, the unstoppable Iga Swiatek overcame a brief interruption to her domination, actually losing a set before ousting Dutchwoman Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4 4-6 6-3 to extend her incredible winning streak to 37 in a row.
Another of the big guns, 2021 Roland Garros winner Barbora Krejcikova, the 13th seed, won back-to-back matches for the first time since the Australian Open as she beat Swiss Viktorija Golubic 6-3 6-4 to set up a third-round contest with Australian No.1 Ajla Tomljanovic.
Simona Halep, the 2018 champion, sent veteran Kirsten Flipkens into retirement with an emotion-charged 7-5 6-4 win over her Belgian buddy, while two-time winner Petra Kvitova beat Romanian Ana Bogdan 6-1 7-6 (7-5).
It was a straightforward day at the office for American teenager Coco Gauff, who overpowered Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 6-3.
But former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu’s hopes have been extinguished with a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) defeat to Kazakh 17th seed Elena Rybakina.
Joining her in the last 32 is Paula Badosa, the world No.4 who avoided the cull of seeds as she saw off another Romanian Irina Bara 6-3 6-2.