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Wild Card Boulter Upsets Wimbledon Finalist Pliskova for First Major Third-Round Appearance at Wimbledon

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 30: Katie Boulter of Great Britain celebrates winning match point against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during their Women’s Singles Second Round match on day four of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Katie Boulter carried much more than her Wilson racquet bag onto Centre Court today.

The British wild card shouldered her nation’s high hopes—and the piercing pain of her grandmother’s death two days ago.

A resilient Boulter masterfully managed it all.

Channeling anguish into action, Boulter toppled 2021 Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 surging into the third round of The Championships for the first time.

On match point, a bold Boulter attacked net, blocked a forehand volley into the grass and hurled a fist toward her support box, including her mom and grandfather, who leaped from their seats in celebration.

An emotional Boulter shed tears afterward dedicating the win to her late grandmother.

“I’m literally shaking—the crowd was unbelievable so thank you for getting me through that,” Boulter told Centre Court fans. “I’m gonna get emotional. My gran passed two days ago and I’d just like to dedicate that to her today.”

The world No. 118 scored her second straight win over Pliskova on grass this month following her 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over the powerful Czech in the Eastbourne second round.

This was Pliskova’s eighth loss to a player ranked outside of the Top 50 this season, but the former US Open champion didn’t play poorly.

Boulter beat her to the punch on pivotal points, was fearless driving the ball down the lines and was efficient moving forward winning 12 of 15 net points, including match point.

Though Pliskova pumped 13 aces, Boulter was thumping her groundstrokes with more conviction in the latter stages. The woman who has leaped more than 100 spots in the rankings after she was sidelined for ninth months with a back injury, hit 25 winners—eight more than her opponent in a one hour, 57-minute victory.

Contesting her eighth career Grand Slam, Boulter may well be back on Centre Court when she meets Harmony Tan, who shocked Serena Williams in a thrilling opening round win, with a spot in the fourth round on the line.

Tan topped Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 6-4 on Court 17 today.

Squaring off on grass again today, Pliskova and Boulter exchanged four consecutive service breaks midway through the second set. The Czech powered through a love hold to force the tiebreaker.

That’s when Boulter elevated. A couple of great running retrievals put Boulter up 3-0 and she hammered a heavy serve to extend her lead to 4-0. Pliskova netted a flat return to hand the Briton three set points.

On the second set point, Pliskova netted a backhand and Boulter raised her right arm and shouted snatching the second set to force a decider after one hour, 23 minutes.

Deadlocked at 4-all, Boulter clubbed a forehand to earn double break point. Pliskova pounded her 13th ace to save the first break point. On the second, Boulter leaned into a backhand return bolting it down the line to break with a clenched fist for 5-4.

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How would the world No. 118 handle the massive pressure of serving for her biggest career win?

In an adrenaline rush, an excited Boulter sailed a forehand that flew five foot long to face 30-all.

Resetting, Boulter slashed a forehand strike down the line for match point. On the fifth shot of the next rally, Boulter blocked the forehand volley and flashed a wide smile to her mother and grandfather both standing side-by-side soaking in the pure joy days after suffering family pain.