Top – Nature Valley Classic: Johanna Konta advances but Heather Watson loses


Johanna Konta, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017, began this 12 months’s grass season with a win

British primary Johanna Konta reached the second spherical in Birmingham with victory in her first match since her French Open semi-final defeat.

The Red Tea Detox

The 28-year-old seventh seed beat Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-Four 6-2.

Compatriot Heather Watson was overwhelmed by Czech Barbora Strycova, beginning properly earlier than shedding 3-6 6-Three 6-4.

Fourth seed Elina Svitolina and fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka suffered shock defeats on the opening day on the Nature Valley Basic.

Konta, who has risen to 18th on the planet rankings from 45th firstly of April, skipped final week’s Nottingham grass-court occasion however began right here in assured fashion.

Following a powerful clay-court season, by which she reached two WTA finals earlier than her run to the final 4 at Roland Garros earlier this month, she confirmed she was able to again it up on grass.

With two weeks to go earlier than the beginning of Wimbledon, Konta put in a convincing show in a difficult first-round draw towards a participant ranked simply two locations beneath her.

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Her dominant serve was as soon as once more key, taking 81% of factors on her first serve.

She broke within the fifth sport of the opener earlier than being pegged again for 4-Four however instantly broke again earlier than serving out the set to like. Breaks within the first and seventh video games of the second arrange the victory with 73 minutes on the clock.

“I am so blissful to be again on house soil and to be in entrance of you guys once more,” she mentioned. “I am so happy to get began on the grass, it is a such a privileged time for the Brits so I am blissful.

“I had a couple of days off, didn’t get an excessive amount of follow on the grass due to the climate, then I bought again into coaching.”

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Watson failed to affix her within the subsequent spherical, regardless of successful the primary set and saving 5 match factors in a spirited efficiency towards Strycova, who’s ranked 64 locations above the British world quantity 115.

The massive upset of the day was the 6-Three 3-6 6-Four defeat for world quantity seven Svitolina by the hands of Russian world quantity 62 Margarita Gasparyan.

The 24-year-old broke the Ukrainian’s serve within the opening sport on her strategy to taking the primary set.

Svitolina, additionally 24, who gained the WTA Finals occasion in 2018, secured an early break within the second set to degree it.

However Gasparyan gained a 4-1 lead within the deciding set and held on for the victory.

The Russian, who has not too long ago recovered from a career-threatening knee harm, mentioned: “It was a tricky time and I did not know if I may play tennis any extra however now I am right here in a giant event so that is one thing particular for me.”

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Gasparyan will play both compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova or Petra Martic of Croatia within the final 16.

Belarusian world quantity 10 Sabalenka adopted Svitolina out of the exit door with a 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-1) defeat by Taiwanese world quantity 28 Hsieh Su-wei.

The competitors is being held on the Edgbaston Priory Membership and likewise contains world primary Naomi Osaka, French Open champion Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova, ranked third on the planet.

Within the doubles competitors, 22-year-old Briton Harriet Dart companions seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams they usually face the pairing of Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine and American Abigail Spears.

Margarita Gasparyan has twice gone out within the opening spherical at Wimbledon – in 2015 and 2016


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