Konta’s run ended by Lucky Loser
Originally published on 18/01/18 00:00
It was the first match on show-court 2 on a day when the temperature in Melbourne was forecast to reach 39 degrees. American Pera ,ranked No.123 in the world, was in the draw by virtue of the withdrawal of Margarita Gasparyan and had reached the second round by defeating qualifier Anna Blinkova.
Perhaps the shape of the match was set when Konta served two double faults and saved a break point in the opening game. The world No 9 who could not find her serve for most of the match was broken in the ninth game, enabling left hander Pera to serve out the first set.
“I think she played very inspired throughout the whole way” Konta said, “and I think I didn't do enough at the beginning when I had little windows of kind of putting kind of my stamp on the match.”
Konta won the first service game of the second set to love, but Pera was in control for most of the set. The pair traded breaks at the start, but the American hit solidly from both sides and found success at the net when she followed up her big groundstrokes. Pera eventually broke Konta in the seventh game – albeit on her fifth break point.
Konta looked out of sorts. She was unable to get to the net, could not find her serve, missed several overheads and fell over a couple of times.
“I don't think I did enough with my service games, and I don't think I did enough with my returns, as well.”
“I think I just didn't play great tennis.”
All credit to Pera for hanging on. The 23 year old, eventually served for the match and took it on her fifth match point. Konta, who had saved three match points when serving at 3-5, had broken back in the tenth game and saved another match point on Pera’s serve at 6-5 but was unable to stay in the match any longer. When Konta came to the net trailing 15-40 on Pera’s serve, she sent a smash sailing over the base line to bring her Australian Open to a close.
“It's not that I had a bad day,” Konta said. “There are things that I did well today. So it wasn't like I wasn't out on court. I competed and my opponent beat me. So there is credit due to her.”
The loss is the worst by ranking since Konta was beaten by world No. 164 Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor at 2015 $50k ITF/Saint Gaudens.
Konta will head home now before playing Fed Cup in Estonia at the beginning of February.
“I'm definitely looking forward to Fed Cup. I'm looking forward to our playing matches there. I'm actually looking forward to just continuing to play. I mean, I didn't play very much in the last six months of last year, so I think I'm where I'm meant to be right now in my level,” Konta said, “I feel it is getting better with each match that I'm playing.”