Johanna Konta sets up Heather Watson clash in Nottingham
Johanna Konta and Heather Watson will meet in the second round of the Nottingham Open after coming through their first-round clashes with relative ease.
Fourth seed Konta was too good for Kurumi Nara as she beat the Japanese player 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour.
“I’m definitely really pleased that I won my first match on grass,” she said after the match. “I really wanted to make sure that I competed during every single point, regardless of how I played level-wise. I wanted to make sure I was competitive from the first to the last ball, and I think that’s what I did.
“I feel good where I am, and I think it’s important that I don’t compare to last year. I’m enjoying the challenges that I’m facing and I’m looking forward to try to make it to the end of each tournament that I play.”
The 26-year-old Watson also made a solid start to the tournament as she beat American Danielle Lao 6-1, 6-3.
Top seed Ashleigh Barty booked her place in round two as she beat Stefanie Voegele from Switzerland 6-3, 6-3.
“It was pretty clean for a first match on grass. I’m very pleased with that,” the Australian said. “The beauty of grass-court tennis is that you get better with matches, and there’s no better way than to get out there and try to fix up your game.”
Defending champion Donna Vekic, though, was given a workout as she needed three sets to beat British wild card Gabriella Taylor 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3).
“It was my first match so I was struggling a little bit to find some rhythm, but I think winning 7-6 in the third is very good for my confidence,” Vekic said.
Mihaela Buzarnescu is also through after a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) win over Veronica Cepede while Sam Stosur advanced when Zarina Diyas was forced to retire while 2-1 down. Stosur will face Katie Boulter next after the British wild card beat Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-4.
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