‘She just was better in the end,’ says Johanna Konta after Sorana Cirstea defeat at US Open
Johanna Konta praised an inspired Sorana Cirstea after suffering a disappointing second-round loss at the US Open.
Konta’s run to the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open last week had boosted hopes of another strong grand slam showing and she led by a set and a break against 77th-ranked Cirstea only to lose out 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.
Ninth seed Konta saved two match points in the ninth game of the decider but Cirstea took her third with an ace after two hours and 49 minutes.
Konta said: “My opponent played better than me. I think that’s really about it.
“I obviously started better. I think my level was a lot higher than hers in the first set. But she’s a great player. She’s had some pretty amazing results also in the past in her career. She’s capable of playing some very good tennis.
“She obviously raised her level. We were battling kind of toe-to-toe really. She just was better in the end.”
Forty unforced errors cost Konta, while her second serve took a pummelling, but Cirstea produced some terrific shots in the third set in particular and played especially well on the big points.
“I think what we’ve seen time and time again in every tournament is that these are the best players in the world, so on any given day they can play incredible tennis,” said Konta.
“Obviously, the higher you are ranked, the more consistently you are able to play that level. However, everybody’s capable to play some really amazing tennis. That’s what she did.
“I did the best that I could. I really fought hard. I really tried to find a way to kind of hopefully get her out of the rhythm of playing that well.”
Big-hitting Cirstea is the sort of player Konta is often at her best against and she had won both of their previous meetings comfortably.
The scoreline in the first of those during a Fed Cup tie three years ago belied one of the more controversial encounters of recent times, with Konta leaving the court in tears midway through the match following verbal abuse from Romania captain Ilie Nastase.
Konta returned to claim victory but was then accused of gamesmanship by an unhappy Cirstea.
It seemed unlikely there would be drama of any kind as Konta eased through the first set and went an early break up in the second.
The British No 1 looked to be too strong for her opponent but a lacklustre service game allowed Cirstea back into the match and the Romanian rose to the challenge.
Tough loss for Johanna Konta at the #USOpen
— LTA (@the_LTA) September 3, 2020
Her weighty forehand began to cause Konta increasing problems, and Cirstea showed admirable resolve to save break points as her opponent pushed for the advantage at both 4-4 and 5-5.
Cirstea seized her chance in the tie-break, clinching her fourth set point with an ace, and her level continued to rise during the third set.
Now it was Konta trying to hang on but, after retrieving an early break, she was unable to take advantage of having Cirstea at 0-40 in the eighth game.
Konta dug deep to save two match points at 3-5 but Cirstea did not allow her any more chances.
The British number one will now turn her attention to clay and the French Open, where she reached the semi-finals last summer.
Follow us on Twitter @T365Official.
Andy Murray admits he has been telling himself each match could be his last
After completing a routine 6-3 6-2 victory – his first singles win on home soil in 1084 days – Murray became tearful in his courtside interview.
‘Each match could be my last’ – Andy Murray holds back the tears after comeback win
Andy Murray did his best to contain the well of tears after his win.
Andy Murray overcome by emotion as he makes winning return to Queen’s Club
Murray was playing first singles match on grass since 2018.
Dan Evans eyes ‘a few more wins’ at Queen’s Club after ending his long wait for a win
It was the British No 1’s first win at the venue since 2014.
Gary Neville unimpressed by double standards that will allow bigger Wimbledon crowds
Decision to allow increased capacity at Wimbledon sparked claims of double standards.
‘Fresh, clever, calm’ Novak Djokovic favourite to win Wimbledon and US Open, according to Mats Wilander
Novak Djokovic “looks scary good and motivated”, says Mats Wilander.
‘My Wimbledon goals are high, they have to be high, or I wouldn’t be playing,’ says Roger Federer
“The season starts around now,” says Roger Federer.
Exclusive – Ex-British No 1 admits Andy Murray is not in control of his own destiny this summer
Andy Murray will return to the scene of some of his greatest triumphs.
Wimbledon finals to be played in front of capacity stadium after change in guidelines
Wimbledon officials are preparing to welcome bigger than expected crowds.
Heather Watson battles past Viktorija Golubic at Birmingham’s Viking Classic
Heather Watson set up a clash against Shuai Zhang.