Emotional Harriet Dart admits she fought through the tears to win a battle of the Brits thriller against red-hot rival Katie Boulter at Wimbledon.

It may be Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak slugging it out on the election trail – but there is no love lost between these top two British stars who duelled it out for the eighth time in their careers on Court 1 yesterday.

And it was underdog Dart, 27, who miraculously came out on top, overturning a 6-2 deciding tie-break deficit after breaking down in tears to edge into the third round for just the second time in her career.

Dart’s dismal record of a single victory against Boulter, also 27, and the duo’s controversial match history of late – they clashed in a three-hour epic in Nottingham last month – was a concoction perfectly brewed for a frosty showdown in SW19.

And when locked at one set apiece and 6-6 in the decider, a match tie-break in the third tested both their mettle but it was Dart who defied the odds to complete a 4-6 6-1 7-6 (8) triumph.

“I knew it was always going to be a really tough battle,” said the British No.2, who will face unseeded Chinese player Wang Xinyu in the third round.

“We only played a few weeks ago and it didn’t go my way, I wear my emotions on my sleeve.

“You see everything how I’m thinking unfortunately, but I’m so happy to be able to get through.”

World No.100 Dart has become accustomed to marathon encounters on grass this season, not least a tense match against today’s opponent last month where Boulter came out on top.

The pair have always downplayed their rivalry, with Boulter opting for a diplomatic: ‘I play the ball, not the player’ approach.

But a visceral tension purged this meeting and it was Dart, playing in her own backyard at the All England Club, who had a point to prove against No.32 seed Boulter.

It seemed business as usual for the British No.1 in the first set, breaking Dart for an encouraging opening advantage before the fellow Brit hit back to level up.

There were trademark Boulter points to the temple, which Dart took umbrage with last month when they met in the East Midlands, one of Leicester star Boulter’s home courts.

And at 6-2 down in the tie-break the tears were in full flow for the Hampstead player, looking broken as the emotional toil of another lengthy match just shy of three hours took its toll.

"I wasn’t expecting too much,” she said. “But at the same time, I was trying my best out there and even though I was down in that tie-break I just thought, just give it everything and no regrets and battled my way through.

Dart won eight of the final 10 points to punch her third-round ticket that many beforehand had hedged their bets against.

And the draw has now opened up. A shock defeat of World No. 5 Jessica Pegula means Dart will face fellow unseeded player Wang in the third round.

For Boulter, it is back to the SW19 drawing board after making 75 unforced errors – but there will not be much dwelling on a Grand Slam tie she may prefer to forget.

Boulter, who will now turn her attention to the Paris Olympics later this month, said: “These are the kind of losses that sting a little bit. There's no other way to put it.

“I’m going to come back stronger and hopefully be winning a lot more matches here next year.

“I've been playing some of the best tennis that I've been playing.

“I've got another title a couple weeks ago, it's not like there's much wrong with my tennis.

“It's just on the day, I didn't have the best one, we all go to the office sometimes and don't have good day.”

Where other British women’s singles hopes were concerned, Lily Miyazaki had to reset her focus following a double bagel 6-0 6-0 defeat to 14th seed Daria Kasatkina.

She brushed off becoming the first Brit since Clare Wood in 1997 to be doubled-bageled and teamed up with Emily Appleton for doubles.

The pair fought from a set down against Wang Xiyu and Zhu Lin to come out 3-6 6-2 7-6 winners.

Miyazaki, 28, said: “Definitely mixed emotions. I went through the highs and lows of sport today but I am happy Emily and I managed to get the win in doubles, coming through such a close match.

“It was tough, after the singles I was quite upset because it was quite a heavy defeat. I knew I had a doubles match scheduled so I managed to switch my focus onto that pretty quickly.

“I had my team around me at lunch and they took my mind off the singles and I focussed on the doubles.

“Having a doubles match was good for me, it definitely took my mind off the singles for a bit. This morning I don’t think I played great so it was nice to go out on the court and try a few things out.”

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