An ‘assured’ Johanna Konta is looking forward to the grass court season after losing another grand slam semi-final at Roland Garros.
The Brit was unable to reach her first grand slam final after losing to Marketa Vondrousova in the semi-finals 7-5 7-6(2) at Roland Garros.
Despite losing her third grand slam semi-final in tricky conditions, Konta has been pleased with how her clay court season has panned out.
Speaking at her press conference was clearly gutted to not make the final but drew on the positives from the last month, “I mean, it’s always tough to lose a match, any match. It’s also tough to lose matches where you do have opportunities, you do have chances,” Konta said.
“However, I feel very, very comfortable and very assured in the fact that I did do the best that I can, the best that I could out there. I mean, you know, I think usually what’s most pleasing is to play a lot of matches, and I definitely did in this month.
“I’m really pleased with how many tough matches I was able to come through. And even the tough matches that I lost, I really felt that I took a lot forward from each of those, and that would be including today. And overall just pleased that I just felt like I kept improving with every day.”
The finalist in Rabat and Rome in the past month also had her say on the scheduling, which saw her match played on court Simonne-Mathieu instead of Philippe Chatrier, “I mean, to be honest, surprise probably more than anything,” Konta explained.
“I have a job to get on with it and to go out there on court and give my best performance. That’s where I put my energy into. But from my understanding, the schedule was released without the approval of multiple parties, so that’s all I understand from it.”
Next for Johanna Konta is the Premier event in Birmingham after she withdrew from next week’s Nottingham Open after her great run in Paris.
“So I can only look forward to playing at Wimbledon and the tournaments before that,” said Konta ahead of the month ahead.
The good news for the Brit is she doesn’t have an awful lot of points to defend in the next month so her ranking is expected to rise with a good run at SW19.
Serena Williams’ 1000th Match Ends In Defeat To Podoroska
Serena Williams was defeated in Rome as she reaches a landmark milestone of 1000 WTA matches.
Serena Williams’ 1000th WTA tour match has ended in a 7-6(6) 7-5 defeat to Nadia Podoroska in Rome.
The American made her return to tour for the first time in 84 days as she looked to build momentum heading into Roland Garros.
If the first few games were to set the tempo of the match then it would prove to be a long contest with Serena struggling to get any free points on her serve.
It was the Argentinian who got the first break of the match in the third game as she tested Serena’s stamina early on in the contest.
In typical Serena fashion, the 23-time grand slam champion produced some stunning ground-strokes especially from central positions to break to love straight away.
On serve, Serena looked fairly comfortable as she ended the match with eight aces although she only made a first serve percentage of 48%.
That was her key downfall as it was Podoroska who looked the more comfortable on return as she used some devastating angles to force unforced errors from the Serena racket.
A break for a 5-4 lead ensured that the last year’s Roland Garros semi-finalist would serve for the opening set.
However Serena used her power and good point construction to once again break back which was met with a roar from the world number eight.
Eventually the first set would head towards a tiebreaker with Podoroska dominating the majority of it.
She had three set points which came and went as Serena used her fighting qualities to roar back into the match.
But once again some unforced errors would cost the four-time champion as Podoroska took the next two point to claim the opening set in 66 minutes.
In the second set, Serena was the early aggressor as she dictated points better setting the pace of the match.
Again though Podoroska extended the rallies and made the American move all round the court exposing as much space as possible.
The Argentinian was rewarded for her court coverage when she broke in the sixth game as Serena began to tire.
As in the first set, Podoroska couldn’t serve out the second set as her cautious play lead to Serena levelling it up at 5-5.
However Serena’s serve was just not working when she needed it too and Podoroska secured the final blow to seal a fantastic victory for her.
For Serena its onto Roland Garros as she will look to improve her fitness in the next couple of weeks.
As for Podoroska she will play Petra Martic after the Croatian beat Kristina Mladenovic today 7-5 6-3.
Naomi Osaka’s Clay Woes Continue After Pegula Defeat In Rome
Naomi Osaka went out in the second round in Rome to Jessica Pegula.
Naomi Osaka’s clay court woes continued in Rome after losing to Jessica Pegula 7-6(2) 6-2.
The world number two admitted previously that learning the clay court trade would take time and this continues to be the case after another early defeat on the surface.
After losing in the second round in Madrid to Karolina Muchova, Osaka knew she needed a quick start in this match and she produced that with the early break for a 2-0 lead.
Pegula’s loss in Madrid was in the third round although that was to the eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka and she had every reason not to be intimidated as she slowly worked her way in the match.
The American reaped her rewards as she took her second break point to bring the match back on serve.
Despite the setback, Osaka continued to dictate play using her athleticism to bring shots back with depth and pace as she was arguably playing the better tennis.
In the latter stages of the set, the Australian Open champion had created three set points before some bold Pegula tennis denied Osaka the set.
Eventually the first set went to a tiebreak which saw the world number 31 be more aggressive and produce some stunning tennis to win seven of the nine points on offer to win the tiebreak 7-2.
In the second set, Osaka fell apart as her backhand, net play and general point construction crumbled quickly.
Pegula offered more in attacking combinations and produced some big serves as she broke three times in the second set.
Despite breaking in the sixth game, it was another disappointing performance from Osaka who conceded defeat in 90 minutes.
As for Pegula she has set up a third round clash with Ekaterina Alexandrova.
In other results so far today Elina Svitolina survived a scare as she edged past Amanda Anisimova 2-6 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Garbine Muguruza also edged past Bernarda Pera 2-6 6-0 7-5 in just over two hours after the Spaniard struggled with a foot injury.
There were comfortable victories for Ash Barty and Karolina Pliskova while Petra Kvitova was knocked out by Vera Zvonareva 6-4 3-6 6-4.
Madison Keys Outlasts Stephens As Bencic Exits Rome
Madison Keys outlasted Sloane Stephens while Belinda Bencic crashed out in Rome.
Madison Keys Outlasted Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-2 7-5 to reach the second round as Belinda Bencic lost in Rome.
In a rematch from the 2017 US Open final Keys avenged her loss from then and last month’s defeat in Charleston to reach the second round in Italy.
In a topsy-turvy contest it was Stephens who took the opening set despite heading a break down early in the set.
A crucial break in the ninth game gave her the third break of the set as the Lucky Loser took the first set in 49 minutes.
In the second set Keys responded well, managing to dictate points more comfortably and despite losing the early break advantage broke Stephens in her last two return games to level the match at one set all.
Unlike the first two sets, it was Stephens who managed to break first as she won the opening game of the final set.
The pair then shared a combined three games in a row with Stephens losing her momentum and racking up more unforced errors as the final set was back on serve.
Both players then saved break points on there serve before Keys eventually pushed over the finishing line on her third match point to seal victory.
Despite victory, Keys’ 56 unforced errors doesn’t bode well for her second round match tomorrow against Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek as the American will need to play a much cleaner match to make the last 16 in Rome.
In other results so far in Rome, Belinda Bencic crashed out in Rome after a 6-3 6-4 defeat to Kristina Mladenovic.
Despite a convincing win for Bencic over Mladenovic in Madrid, the doubles grand slam champion managed to control her game in a close match which saw Bencic lose all the close points and games.
Mladenovic will now play Petra Martic in the second round which has seen Serena Williams part of the draw open up nicely.
Speaking of Serena, her first match of the week will be against Nadia Podoroska after the Argentinian beat Laura Siegemund 2-6 7-6(3) 6-1.
Here are some of the other results so far on day two in Rome:
Yaroslava Shvedova def Martina Trevisan 0-6 7-6(4) 7-6(6)
Caroline Garcia def Elisabetta Cocciaretto 7-6(8) 6-2
Bernarda Pera def Tamara Zidansek 6-3 6-2
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