Wimbledon: Katie Boulter, Liam Broady and Heather Watson win on good day for British players

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport at Wimbledon
Wimbledon 2022 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

British wildcard Katie Boulter delighted Wimbledon's Centre Court with a stunning fightback to beat 2021 runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

After a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win, Boulter fought back tears when revealing her gran Jill died two days ago.

"I'm going to get so emotional. I'd like to dedicate it to her," she said after securing her best Grand Slam run.

Fellow Britons Liam Broady and Heather Watson also earned memorable wins on Thursday to reach the third round.

Wildcard Broady, 28, won 6-2 4-6 0-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 against Argentine 12th seed Diego Schwartzman to also record his best performance at a major.

British number four Watson, 30, matched her best Wimbledon singles performance with a 7-5 6-4 win against China's Wang Qiang.

There was the possibility of an all-British meeting between world number 132 Broady and Jack Draper in the last 32, but the 20-year-old was beaten by Australian 19th seed Alex de Minaur.

Draper, who earned direct entry into the men's draw for the first time, won the first set before De Minaur's greater experience and endurance enabled him to take control.

Draper was only playing in his third Grand Slam match, compared with a 44th for his opponent, and it ended in a 5-7 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 defeat.

Boulter watched on from 23-year-old De Minaur's box and stood to applaud when her boyfriend made the Wimbledon third round for the second time in his career.

Another British exit came when Harriet Dart lost to eighth seed Jessica Pegula, with the American fighting back to win 4-6 6-3 6-1.

British wildcard Alastair Gray, ranked 288th and making his men's singles debut at the All England Club, had chances against American 11th seed Taylor Fritz before falling to a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 defeat.

Boulter shows quality and determination amid grief

Boulter, once the emerging and exciting talent in the British women's game, is trying to rebuild her career after it was heavily interrupted by injury problems in recent years.

The British number three reached a career-high 82nd in the world rankings and was on an upward trajectory before her injury problems began in early 2019.

Boulter, now ranked 118th, proved she still has the talent to beat the best when she earned the biggest win of her career against world number seven Pliskova in Eastbourne last week.

Now the 25-year-old has eclipsed that with another victory over the Czech former world number one, this time on the one of the greatest stages in the sport and against a backdrop of personal grief.

Boulter struggled for words in the on-court interview immediately after she sealed victory, with an ecstatic crowd initially thinking it was solely down to the magnitude of her achievement.

When asked later about her gran, Boulter said: "Her favourite tournament was Wimbledon. That's why it's a special one for me. She'd watch every single match that was on the TV.

"It's been a tough few days for sure. I've tried to kind of get my emotions out and deal with the situation, try and keep my head on the tennis.

"I was lucky because my grandpa managed to come down from Leicester, and so we could keep him company and keep supporting him at the same time."

Wimbledon 2022: Watch Katie Boulter come from a set down to beat Karolina Pliskova

When Boulter won the second set, the family members supporting from her box - which included her mother Sue, brother James and grandfather - shared emotional and jubilant hugs.

It was a similar scene when Boulter clinched a memorable win with a net volley.

Shaking both fists in the air, Boulter smiled as she looked towards her family and moments later revealed why the celebrations meant so much.

On Saturday, she will aim to reach the last 16 when she faces France's Harmony Tan.

Tan, making her Wimbledon main-draw debut this year, beat American great Serena Williams in the first round and backed up that memorable win with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.

"It's a dream come true for me and if I can have you behind me for those I can probably go a long way," Boulter, who lost at the same stage on the 15,000-capacity show court last year, told the Centre Court crowd.

'My heart is always there - Broady's brilliant fightback

British number five Broady is finally starting to reap the rewards of a more professional outlook as he celebrated making the last 32 of a major at the seventh attempt.

A promising junior who made the 2011 Wimbledon boys' final, Broady won his first ATP Challenger title last year and reached a career-high ranking of 116 earlier this season.

The left-hander has achieved several more notable milestones this season, including qualifying for a first appearance at the Australian Open, and has spoken about how his fortunes have improved after limiting his nights out.

Now his increased dedication has resulted in one of the most unforgettable days of his career in front of a jubilant home crowd.

Broady trailed by two sets to one, and was a break down in the fourth, after 2020 French Open semi-finalist Schwartzman won 11 games in a row.

But he recovered to win a fourth-set tie-break and then sealed victory by winning the final five games of the decider.

"Sometimes I struggle a bit to put the ball in the court but my heart is always there," said Broady, who initially walked off court before realising he had to give a winning on-court interview.

"With everyone out there it was incredible and there was no way I was giving up."

Watson matches best Wimbledon despite little sleep

Watson, 30, needed only one game to wrap up victory in a match halted by darkness on Wednesday.

Watson, who has played in singles every day of the tournament and only had four hours' sleep on Wednesday night, will face Slovenian Kaja Juvan on Friday.

"I woke up not feeling great this morning," the world number 121 said.

"It's been a really tough few days for me with the scheduling. It's not been on my side at all.

"I've just tried to do the best I could. In every situation try to stay positive and in the moment. I feel like I've handled it really well."

Heather Watson celebrates beating Wang Qiang in the Wimbledon second round
Heather Watson has reached the Wimbledon third round on three previous occasions

Watson, who said she had to take a caffeine gel before playing on Wednesday which had then affected her sleep, said she might have to have a nap before her doubles match scheduled for later in the day. But that match, where she is playing alongside compatriot Dart, was later moved to another day.

In the men's singles, 24-year-old Gray served for the second set against Fritz but was eventually beaten by the recent Eastbourne champion.

Gray saved two set points in the second-set tie-break and thought he had saved a third, running away in celebration after stretching for a forehand volley, but a diving Fritz managed to get to the ball and send it back over the net.

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