Konta makes strong start
Originally published on 16/01/18 00:00
The British No.1 looked confident and assured as she booked her spot in the second round of the Australian Open after a commanding 6-3 6-1 success over Madison Brengle.
Adding Maria Sharapova’s former coach, Michael Joyce, to her team appears to have revitalised Konta, and she is back performing to an exceptionally high standard.
Her American opponent, a grafter without significant weaponry, struggled to disrupt her opponent’s baseline rhythm after a competitive start to the match.
Konta served beautifully throughout, firing down a total of 8 aces, and she was understandably thrilled to pass her first test with flying colours.
“I’m very happy with that match,” said the No.9 seed, after her 66-minute workout.
“I knew it was going to be tough against her [Brengle]. You saw in so many points that she gets a lot of balls back and makes her opponents work for it, so I’m very happy and pleased that I stuck to the style of play that I wanted out there.”
The opening day of the Australian Open saw Coco Vandeweghe and Sloane Stephens exit the tournament after defeats, but Konta was not surprised to see a number of top seeds tumble so early in the competition.
“It’s testament to how many great first and second rounds we have on the women side,” added the Brit. “Honestly, some of the first round matches that you see being played are of such a high quality. It just shows how much depth we have in the women’s game right now.”
With temperatures expected to soar in Melbourne later this week, playing conditions will only get harder for the competitors, however Konta is not fazed by the possibility of playing in extreme heat.
“I love it,” said the 26-year-old with a smile, when asked about the imminent weather change. “I love the Australian heat and it’s some of the nicest rays of sunshine you can get. I’m looking forward to it.”
Bernarda Pera, a lucky loser, will provide Konta with her next challenge in the second round. The world No.123 bagged her first ever Grand Slam win by easing past Anna Blinkova 6-2 6-2.
The 23-year-old received her place in the main draw after Margarita Gaspayran pulled out with an injury.