Hemel Hempstead’s Katy Dunne underlined her burgeoning potential on the biggest stage of them all with a stirring performance at Wimbledon against a player 811 places above her in the world rankings and three years her senior.
The Halton Tennis Centre prodigy made it to the first round proper of qualifying for the ladies singles after being handed a wildcard.
Dunne, who only turned 18 in February, had made the semi-finals of pre-qualifying at SW19 before losing to Mel South.
However, due to her fantastic form in the last year – which has seen her rise from 118 to ninth in the Junior World Rankings – Dunne was rewarded with a wildcard for the first round of qualifying.
She netted a tough match against Italy’s Nastassja Burnett, who is ranked 136th in the world in the women’s game – Dunne’s fledgling singles rank is 947.
Playing as the underdog, the match was viewed as a ‘bonus’ by the Dunne camp as she took to court six.
Ahead of the encounter, the teenager’s Halton coach, Peter Thorne, predicted she would trouble the Italian.
And his words were vindicated as Dunne made Burnett fight for every game in a creditable 6-3, 6-2 defeat.
Dunne went 2-0 down in the first before fighting back to 3-2 and then 4-3, and in the second she again clawed back from 2-0 to 2-2 before Burnett’s experience told.