Clinical Konta reaches Australian Open second round as Watson exits
Tennis

Clinical Konta reaches Australian Open second round as Watson exits

16 January 2018 / 11:39

The Johanna Konta of a few years ago might have not beaten Madison Brengle in the Australian Open first round overnight.

After all, Brengle had overcome the British No.1 on three of the last four matches prior to this week, a banana-skin if ever there was one, in the first Grand Slam match of the year.

But Konta made light work of the American in Melbourne, needing just 66 minutes to prevail 6-3 6-1 in an atmosphere in which she felt comfortable and thrived in.

A semi-finalist two years ago, the 26-year-old certainly knows what it takes to go deep in Melbourne, but for now she was content with taking things one step at a time, the next challenge being American Bernarda Pera in round two.

As well as the result there was also a mentality trait that pleased Konta, an approach she conceded perhaps wasn’t there in previous outings.

"I have matured physically but also emotionally and mentally," she said.

"Madison is the kind of player who does ask a lot of questions of the people she plays. She gets a lot of balls back. You need patience to also play with her.

"That's definitely one thing I have gotten better at over the years.

"I was actually really enjoying being out there. It was a nice day. It was sunny. It was quite a full stadium. There was a lot of people.

"I kind of tried to absorb the atmosphere a little bit. I was really excited to play.

"I thought it was a great first round for me to fight through and battle through and stay strong in the way I wanted to play out there. And I feel I did that."

Konta joins Kyle Edmund in the second round Down Under but Heather Watson won’t be among them, losing her opener in straight sets.

That came against Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, with the world No.54 taking the opening set 7-5 after forcing the vital break.

It was Watson who made the early running in the second set however, breaking in the first game, though she had to find a second break of the set to force a tie-break, keeping her in the match.

But after securing the mini-break, that was to be as good as it got for the world No.68, going down 7-5 7-6 (8-6), unable to match her second-round performance from 2015 and 2016.

Sportsbeat 2018

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