Johanna Konta’s winless start to 2020 continues as she makes early exit in St Petersburg

Johanna Konta feeling the heat

Johanna Konta’s wait for her first victory of the 2020 season continues after she was beaten by world No 159 Oceane Dodin in her opening match at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

After making first-round exits at the Brisbane International and the Australian Open, Konta was hoping for a change in fortune in Russia.

However, the fourth seed slumped to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat at the hands of Dodin, who claimed the second top 20 win of her career.

“The last [Top 20 win] was, I think, three years ago!” Dodin said. “So, this is incredible.”

The French qualifier added: “I’m just very happy with my game right now. I’m very happy to be here and to be in the quarterfinals, and we will see.”

She will face Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan for a place in the semi-final after the eighth seed beat French lucky loser Fiona Ferro 6-3, 6-4.

Top seed Belinda Bencic is safely into the last eight after the Swiss held off two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, winning 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

“I definitely had to be the aggressor, play a little bit harder shots, because obviously [Kuznetsova] tries to break your rhythm with the spins and the slices and everything,” Bencic said. “I was prepared for that.”

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