Wimbledon 2023: Katie Boulter bows out to reigning champion Elena Rybakina in late night third round clash
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British No.1 Katie Boulter exited Wimbledon in the third round having lost to defending champion and third seed Elena Rybakina 6-1, 6-1.
An impressive display from the world No.3 saw Boulter bow out in the third round for the second consecutive year – her best career performance at The Championships.
"Today I was playing really well and I was focused from the beginning to the end," Rybakina said.
"I knew what to expect (facing a Brit at Wimbledon) and I knew it was going to be a tough one, but it was a really nice atmosphere. Overall, I'm just really happy I kept my focus."
The Rothesay Open Nottingham champion finishes her grass court season having won her first career WTA title on home soil, becoming British No.1 and breaking back into the top 100.
As expected, Boulter and Rybakina opened with explosive hitting from the baseline. Both players are renowned for their powerful serves and groundstrokes, but the defending champion found the edge early on. The world No.3 came out the blocks firing on all cylinders – averaging 82mph off her forehand alone through the first five games – and got the initial break off a couple of key errors from the Brit.
The third seed's heavy hitting was proving difficult for Boulter to adjust to and Rybakina claimed a double break before serving out the set to love in just over 20 minutes.
There had been questions over Rybakina’s form coming into this match, but the Kazakh star demonstrated the form that took her to her first grand slam just 12 months ago.
It looked set for more of he same in the second set as Rybakina once again jumped on Boulter’s serve, attacking with brute force and finding her spots to break straight away.
Boulter set the crowd into full voice with a crucial hold at 2-0 down and continued to fight to the end, but Rybakina’s serve proved impenetrable. The reigning champion won 21 of 24 points behind her first serve to sail through to the fourth round and extend her unbeaten run at Wimbledon to 10 matches.