Brits Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, and Johanna Konta all kicked off the North American hard-court circuit with impressive first round WTA victories. Form is temporary, class is permanent–that’s why Gabriella Taylor should not be forgotten, despite bowing out of the $60,000 Lexington, Kentucky event at the hands of world #287 Jessica Pegula, 3-6, 6-7.
Three ITF Titles in the 2018 Bag Already
Taylor has been and will continue to knock on the door of the WTA main tour. This most recent second round match highlights an area that needs to be shored up. The second serve needs major work if Taylor is to stand any chance of making the US Open main draw. Just 9% of points won on 2nd serve (1/11) first set and 41% overall (13/32), is where Taylor lost this match. This aspect of her game has been her downfall since an impressive start to the season. The 20 year old from Southampton, won two competitive hard-court ITF titles in Australia at the beginning of the year. She added a grass title later on, to secure her most titles in a season, already.
Taylor Peaked Too Soon
Early February Britain’s tennis fans were pinning hopes on Taylor becoming the British number one and ending the Slam drought in the ladies game. There is no reason to abandon these hopes. Such was Taylor’s prolific form at the start of the season, the sheer number of matches played has led to some fatigue.
The Future of British Tennis Could Still Be Taylor-Made
The plateauing of young players like 17-year-old Olga Danilovic, Marta Kostyuk, and Amanda Anisimova shows that the WTA has stars in the making. These names dominate the conversation in terms of the next big thing, but all players go through dips and troughs. It’s how you deal with these. The Pegula defeat came in Taylor’s first hard-court tournament since a near-miss WTA Tour laden, grass court season. Close three set defeats to players like Vekic and Bouchard at Nottingham and Wimbledon respectively- show that Taylor is not far off WTA standard.
In the topsy-turvy world of young tennis talent, Britain should not give up on Gabriella Taylor.
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