Wimbledon: Katie Boulter beats Danielle Lao in three sets to fly the flag for British women

The day after British No 1 Jo Konta was forced into isolation Katie Boulter stepped up to carry the flag for the home challenge.

Amid defeats for Katie Swan, Jodie Burrage and Heather Watson, Boulter saved Britain’s female contingent from a day-one wipeout.

But the 24-year-old from Leicester ground down American qualifier Danielle Lao 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a second-round date with big-hitting Belarusian Arnya Sabalenka, the No 2 seed.

Katie Boulter won her match on a disappointing day for British women at Wimbledon

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‘Having been absent for a couple years, it really means so much,’ said Boulter. ‘Ultimately it wasn’t pretty out there, I knew it wasn’t going to be. But I fought so hard, found a way. I feel like that’s what tennis is really about.’

Tall and with easy power, Boulter has risen as high as 82 in the world and looks to have the most potential of the younger generation of Brits.

It was her first appearance at the All England Club for three years and, given the circumstances, this really was a terrific display.

Having suffered a back injury which kept her out of Wimbledon in 2019, Boulter then picked up a right elbow issue just as she was going well in Nottingham earlier this month.

Boulter picked up an elbow injury whilst playing at Nottingham earlier this month

That elbow was thoroughly bandaged during the match and heavily iced afterwards.

‘At the moment it feels great,’ she said of the injury. ‘Ultimately I’m managing it this tournament. It didn’t hinder me in any way.’

Boulter arrived late to Court 17 and her game took some time to show up too as she fell 5-2 down.

She had a couple of spats with umpire Mohamed Lahyani, which could have been the jolt she needed to get back on level terms and force a tiebreak.

Lao — a tricky, scurrying opponent — edged the breaker 8-6 but there were increasing signs that Boulter was finding her range.

Boulter survived some tricky moments to  defeat Danielle Lao (left) in straight sets

By the end, she looked comfortably the better player, dominating with her serve and easy power. Boulter was cheered on by her mother and grandfather, as well as her boyfriend Alex de Minaur, the Australian world No 15.

‘It feels pretty special to be back home, in front of a British crowd,’ said Boulter. ‘It really does make a difference.’

For Swan and Burrage, by contrast, it felt as though the setting was more of a hindrance than a help.

Burrage struggled on her SW19 debut, beset by nerves which had accumulated during the near five-hour rain delay before her match. The wildcard went down 6-2, 6-1 to experienced American Lauren Davis. ‘I have been looking forward to this for a long time and I feel like that’s why what happened today in the match happened,’ said the 22-year-old Londoner. ‘I am pretty disappointed in myself.’ 

Jodie Burrage lost in straight sets on her Wimbledon debut to American Lauren Davis

Swan also felt nerves in her 3-6, 4-6 loss to No 23 seed Keys. ‘I just think it was the occasion,’ said Swan.

‘I wanted to put in a good performance at Wimbledon and I think that’s why I felt a little bit nervous.’

Watson’s defeat was the hardest to take, as she looked in control for much of a winnable match against American Kristie Ahn. 

The 29-year-old had a match point in the deciding set but Ahn won 2-6, 7-6, 8-6 in over three hours under the Court One roof. 

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Euro 2020: England set to enjoy overwhelming support at Wembley for last-16 clash against Germany

Only 1,500 Germany fans will be inside Wembley on Tuesday night, with England set to enjoy overwhelming home support.

Sportsmail understands that Covid restrictions have meant that the German football association have sold just 1,500 tickets for the last 16 European Championship fixture between the two traditional rivals.

Support for the visitors will be almost exclusively limited to expats who are based in the UK.

Only 1,500 Germany fans will be at Wembley for Tuesday’s last-16 encounter with England

England will enjoy the vast majority of the support at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday

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Both countries’ football authorities were offered around 7,500 to 10,000 tickets but the logistics left the trip impossible for many of those who would have travelled from Germany in normal times.

The situation leaves Gareth Southgate’s men with the prospect of playing in front of an almost entirely English crowd.

Touts would appear to have had a field day after UEFA angered thousands by launching a flash sale online. 

The Euro 2020 organising body promised those who had bought tickets for the original clash — set to be held in Dublin — the opportunity to purchase them again after the fixture was moved to London.

Many were England fans, who had gambled on their side topping the group.

However, in some cases less than an hour’s notice was given before UEFA put the tickets online, meaning many were not given enough notice and lost their seats. In fact, tickets were available online on Tuesday night for £250.

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Euro 2020: Yann Sommer insists Switzerland ‘always believed’ they could stage comeback over France

The Swiss team charged towards Yann Sommer from the halfway line at full speed, but their goalkeeper was less sure the penalty shoot-out had been won.

Sommer looked towards the referee after he made the decisive save from Kylian Mbappe’s penalty, worried his feet may have come off the line.

But as his teammates finally arrived in the box, he was given the all-clear and led them in wild celebrations by the corner flag as their stunning win over France was confirmed.

Switzerland celebrate a stunning penalty shoot-out win to knock France out of Euro 2020

They had been 3-1 down but staged an incredible comeback to force the match into extra time

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Having been 3-1 down to the world champions, Switzerland fought their way to extra-time after a remarkable comeback before keeping their cool to net all five of their spot-kicks.

Sommer was the hero on a night of memorable performances, and he hailed the character of the Swiss side.

‘What a game, what a night of football,’ Sommer said speaking to EURO2020.com.

‘The end is crazy, it is beautiful but how we came back during the game from two goals down, I am really proud of this team.

‘We always believed, we always said if we are down we will go to the end and not give up. It was our chance to go through. it is incredible how we played.

Yann Sommer was the hero as he saved Kylian Mbappe’s penalty to win the match for his side

‘Anything is possible but that is always in football. We believed it, we are a small country but we have a lot of quality and have experience in our squad. We showed it.’

It had looked like a spot-kick would be Switzerland’s downfall, Ricardo Rodriguez seeing his weak second-half penalty saved by Hugo Lloris as he missed the chance to double his country’s lead.

With France swiftly moving into a two-goal lead Switzerland’s race looked to have been run, but the drama at Euro 2020 continued.

Sommer admitted: ‘It was a really difficult situation for us after the penalty miss. I’m really proud of the team, how they came back.’

Granit Xhaka produced a superb performance to set up a quarter final match against Spain

Didier Deschamp’s side will now face huge questions after a calamitous night, but for Switzerland a quarter-final clash on Friday against Spain, who themselves came out on top in remarkable fashion with a 5-3 win over Croatia.

‘We wrote the history of this footballing nation,’ Granit Xhaka told Sky Sport after a sensational performance from the midfielder.

‘Now we have Spain in the quarters, it will be difficult but we are dreaming now.

‘It’s amazing. We made history tonight, we are all very proud.’

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  • UEFA EURO 2020 | UEFA.com