‘I feel truly privileged’ to share a court with Kim Clijsters, says Johanna Konta after beating Belgian

Johanna Konta swinging

Johanna Konta got off the mark in 2020 by beating Kim Clijsters in the Monterrey Open and then declared “it’s nice to have” the former world No 1 back on the WTA Tour.

Having lost her opening matches in her first three tournaments of the year, it was a case of fourth time lucky for Konta as she secured a solid 6-3, 7-5 win over Clijsters, who was playing in only her second match since making a comeback.

The British No 1 broke in games seven and nine of the first set and then claimed a solitary break in game 12 of the second set.

“As a young player, I never thought I’d get to play Kim Clijsters in my career,” the second-seeded Konta said after the win. “I feel truly privileged and honoured to share the court with such a champion. It’s nice to have her back.”

She added: “It was very tough. She’s an incredible ball-striker. Her ability to do things with the ball is what made her a multiple Grand Slam champion. It’s why she was able to come back and play, in her second match back after seven years, at a level like this. That’s not exactly an every day thing, that’s for sure. I feel so honored to have played her, and really happy with my performance.”

There will be no all-British affair in the second round as Heather Watson, who won the Acapulco title a few days ago, was beaten by Tatjana Maria with the German winning 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 7-5.

Top seed Elina Svitolina advanced as the Ukrainian eased past Danka Kovinic with a 6-3, 6-2 win.

“For me, the goal is to win the tournament,” Svitolina said. “I’ll try to do my best, try to recover and be ready for every single match.”

She continued: “You have to be ready. There’s no easy matches.”

Next up is qualifier Olga Govortsova, who beat American lucky loser Caroline Dolehide 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

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