Johanna Konta beats Heather Watson in all-British US Open first-round clash
Johanna Konta shrugged off some early resistance from her compatriot Heather Watson to reach the second round of the US Open.
The British No 1 had to fend off a series of set points in the first set tie-break before ultimately cruising to a 7-6 (9-7), 6-1 success.
It was sign of the further progress being made by the world number 13 under new coach Thomas Hogstedt, in the wake of her run to the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open last week.
Johanna Konta wins the battle of the Brits 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/olFAtbiYxs
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 1, 2020
The defeat was Watson’s fourth in a row since she won the pre-lockdown Mexican Open in February, but the 28-year-old will take heart from a gutsy first-set display.
Watson had toughed out the opening stages as Konta sought to pressure her second serve, and her resistance finally broke in the ninth game of the match.
But Watson showed admirable fortitude in breaking Konta straight back, and ultimately forced a tie-break which she bossed until she sat on the cusp of taking the set with a 6-3 lead.
Instead Konta hit back and turned the tie-break around, before ruthlessly exploiting her opponent’s disappointment with a double-break in the second set to take the tie beyond her opponent’s reach.
Watson narrowly avoided the dreaded bagel but Konta converted her second match point to book a second round meeting with Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.
Their meeting will revive memories of their controversial Fed Cup clash in Constanta in February 2017, when Cirstea accused the Briton of gamesmanship for leaving the court midway through an Ilie Nastase tirade.
Konta swiftly put the issue to bed with a straight sets win in Eastbourne four months later, and will start a strong favourite against the current world number 77, who scored a straight sets win over Christina McHale.
Follow us on Twitter @T365Official.
Nick Kyrgios credits doubles success with singles breakthrough
Nick Kyrgios says his run with Thanasi reignited his love for the game.
Nick Kyrgios is looking to get the jump on the ATP Tour in Saudi Arabia
Nick Kyrgios hopes Saudi exhibition helps kick start his 2023 campaign.
Davis Cup: Canada set up final date with Australia after downing Italy
Felix pulled it out of the bag for Canada.
Andy Murray and Piers Morgan spar on Twitter over Messi v Ronaldo
Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray teased interviewer Piers Morgan with a cheeky tweet after Lionel Messi’s World Cup goal.
Novak Djokovic set to make Australia return in Adelaide
Novak Djokovic and Serbia will miss the United Cup after the World No 5 opted not to declare for the tournament.
WTA not satisfied with China over Peng Shuai explanations
The WTA are at odds with China.
Why Roger Federer is still the highest paid star in tennis
Leaving Nike and freeing himself to sign long-term deals with Uniqlo and On Running has proved to be hugely lucrative for Federer.
Former US Open champion confirms new coach for 2023
Bianca Andreescu has reunited with an old mentor.
Davis Cup: Australia produce stunning fightback to reach final
Australia show fight to down Croatia and take a step towards another Davis Cup title.