MELBOURNE, Australia - Katie Boulter made a little history on top of scoring her first-ever Australian Open main draw match win, shocking 2015 semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova, 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(10-6), winning the first Australian Open match decided by a 10-point final set tie-break.
Boulter's solid 2018 season helped her make her main draw debut in Melbourne, and while she enjoyed a blistering start against the former World No.8, the clash will be most remembered for its dramatic conclusion, the first to play out the new sudden death format instituted last year.
Tied at six games apiece in the final set, Brit raced out to a 5-0 lead in the tie-break before throwing in a shaky double fault. That blip seemed to give Makarova a second life, racing back to within one point of leveling the contest.
Boulter was ultimately undaunted, putting away a fearless forehand to move ahead 7-4 - a scoreline that would have secured victory in any other tie-break - with three points to go.
The WTA World No.97, however, moved towards the net to shake hands, forgetting the new rule.
“I was in the moment and I kind of forgot that it was first-to-ten,” she admitted. “The umpire actually said it at the end of six-all, I just didn’t hear it because I was so focused on myself and in the zone that I didn’t process it. ”
While Makarova kept things close as the match moved towards the finish line, the 22-year-old remained in front, clinching the historic win after two hours and 24 minutes on court.
“I have got to take it light-heartedly,” she said. “I ended up getting the win, I probably would have been really devastated had I not. A couple of people have mentioned it to me and I can laugh it off now, but at least I know the rule, so it definitely won’t happen again.”
Boulter will next play No.11 seed and Shenzhen Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, who breezed past Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya earlier in the day.
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Danielle Collins otherwise scored a significant upset as she defeated Auckland champion and WTA World No.13 Julia Goerges, 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Goerges was one of three seeds to fall on the opening day, with No.22 seed Jelena Ostapenko going down over three sets to Maria Sakkari, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 and No.32 seed Barbora Strycova defeated 6-4, 7-6(1) by Yulia Putintseva.
Up next for Collins is fellow American Sachia Vickery, who beat Ysaline Bonaventure, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Meanwhile, there were straight-sets victories for seeds Donna Vekic, Caroline Garcia, Lesia Tsurenko and Anett Kontaveit.
It was also a positive day for the home nation’s younger players as wildcards Kimberley Birrell and Zoe Hives defeated Paula Badosa Gibert and Bethanie Mattek-Sands respectively. Qualifier Astra Sharma, meanwhile, beat compatriot Priscilla Hon over three sets. Ellen Perez, however, lost to Wang Yafan, 6-4, 6-0.
Another up-and-comer to impress was Amanda Anisimova. Playing in her first Australian Open, the 17-year-old moved past WTA World No.99 Monica Niculescu, 7-6(3), 6-4 and will next face Tsurenko.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Olympic champion Monica Puig, 6-4, 6-3, while there were also wins for Rebecca Peterson, Johanna Larsson, Timea Babos and Marketa Vondrousova.