Sloane Stephens stunned at Pan Pacific Open as Johanna Konta cruises

Johanna Konta in action

Sloane Stephens fell at the first hurdle at the Pan Pacific Open as she went down in straight sets against Donna Vekic, who set up a second-round encounter against Johanna Konta.

Having reached the quarter-final of the US Open, Stephens came into the Tokyo event in reasonable form, but she came up short against the Croatian, losing 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 27 minutes.

Vekic broke twice in the opening set and three times in the second although Stephens managed one break in the first set and two in the second.

Next up for Vekic is Konta, who eased to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Canadian qualifier Gabriela Dabrowski.

The British No 1 won 10 consecutive games to complete the demolition job in just 65 minutes.

“It was a tough match, the scoreline didn’t show the quality of it,” she told after the match.

“She definitely played really well in parts and I had to really raise my level to come through that.

“I had to be tough out there. She was playing some great tennis. I had to focus on every single point and accept she was going to play some good tennis.

“I thought it was an entertaining match, and I’m looking forward to playing another one here.”

Barbora Strycova also reached the second round as she beat Zarina Diyas 6-4, 6-4 while former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka will face Kurumi Nara later in the day.

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