Birmingham | Konta crashes out to Kvitova
Jo Konta suffered a 6-3 6-4 defeat to the defending champion Petra Kvitova as she attempted to continue last week’s excellent run in Nottingham.
This season, the Czech has already collected four titles and established a 33-7 match win/loss record.
Nonetheless Kvitova was made to work hard for her first-round victory at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham but was always more secure on the key. In the first set, for instance, the World No.8 knew how to apply the pressure in the sixth game, putting together three straight points to break. In the second set, the pressure produced two double faults from the British No.1 for a break at a critical moment.
Going out there today, I knew there was going to be a very small chance that she was going to go off. I think for 90% of the match I was actually quite shoulder to shoulder with her, which was a very positive thing for me Jo Konta
However, Kvitova was complimentary about Konta, stating: “It was really not easy playing Jo here. She had a couple of great matches in Nottingham, so it showed me something.”
“I’m glad after three days on the grass I could play a good game. Of course there are a couple things I can improve, but overall for the first match I think it was fine.”
And the Czech used her swinging lefty serve to great effect which made her happy. “With the slice from a lefty, it’s always kind of challenging for the opponent,” she said. “The first serve was good sometimes. And when we played a rally, it was me who was dominating a little bit. I think Jo had a few troubles with the depth of my ball
Konta believes facing Kvitova is one of the toughest challenges on the WTA tour. “She’s one of the best players in the world right now,” she said.
“Going out there today, I knew there was going to be a very small chance that she was going to go off. I think for 90% of the match I was actually quite shoulder to shoulder with her, which was a very positive thing for me.”
“I think that that 10% is what I’m working on right now, to be able to do just that bit better and, yeah, to come through in some of those close moments.”
With that performance Kvitova is feeling good about the rest of the grass season and especially Wimbledon. She said, “I like playing on the grass, which always brings more energy to me.”
“I needed the break I had after the French. I’m looking forward to my next one after Wimbledon. But overall I felt good. That’s important.”
Two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova takes on 14th ranked Australian Daria Gavrilova in the second round.
Meanwhile the reigning Wimbledon champion, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, dismantled Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1 6-2 in just over 59 minutes to book a second-round clash against Czech Barbora Strycova.