Britain’s Johanna Konta continues strongly in her week of dominance after she overcame fellow Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova to record her second win in either days and advance to the second round of the Italian Open.
Konta ranked 22nd in the world, didn’t get it easy from the 16th seed Slovak, needing 10 break points before she finally converted one, and had to come from behind in the second set before finally grabbing her 6-4 6-3 win for the day in a game that lasted 1 hour 48 minutes in Rome.
The 26-year-old will now play either Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei or Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus next. She had been set to play Petra Kvitova initially, but the Czech withdrew following her victory in the Madrid Open last weekend and Rybarikova became the unfamiliar name to be affected by the reshuffle.
The beautiful Pietrangeli court at the Foro Italico was full of thrilling moment, with chances upon chances coming and going for the British number one Konta throughout the first set and she went behind before suddenly reeling off two consecutive break opportunities to take the opener.
Konta looked totally in control at 2-0 in the second set, only to surprisingly lose the next three games giving her a more diffiucult job to do. However, she eventually pulled it off and cancelled out the deficit straight away and went on to close out the set, hitting 19 winners to Rybarikova’s nine.
Despite 40 unforced errors to Rybarikova’s 24, Konta was able to hold on and secure victory.
Ultimately she won five out of sixteen break points, but it was otherwise a purposeful performance with her notably unafraid to attack the net and take the ball on, playing to her strengths.
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