Brisbane | Konta upsets former US Open champion
Jo Konta has made an impressive start to her 2019 season by ousting the former US Open champion Sloane Stephens from the Brisbane International tournament, one of the warm-up events for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne in a few weeks time.
I'm just very happy I was able to maintain my level quite consistently throughout Jo Konta
Konta upset the third seed 6-4 6-3 in just under two hours to book a second round clash with Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, the world number 46, who in turn dispatched the Czech Katerina Siniakova 1-6 6-3 6-0.
It was Konta’s 15th career victory over a top ten opponent and hopefully marks a turnaround in her fortunes for the coming year.
Speaking on court following her victory, Konta said it had been a ‘really tough match’.
“I think the first three games took about half an hour, so there was very little in it – especially in that first set at the beginning.
“I’m just very happy I was able to maintain my level quite consistently throughout.”
The last 12 months have bee tricky for the 27-year-old from Eastbourne and replying to a question as to how she had coped over that period, she said: “The most important thing is to keep moving forward. I’m not trying to recreate something that I had, I’m trying to create something new and something better.
‘I just keep looking ahead and I keep trusting in the work that I do. Nothing ever is straight sailing and a constant upward trajectory, so I’m just really happy, I’m sticking to the work, I’m enjoying what I do – even through the challenges – and I’m just going to keep doing that.”
There was some additional excellent news for British fans as the 22-year-old Londoner, Harriet Dart, having qualified, made the second round with a satisfying 1-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Australian wild card Priscilla Hon.
“I’m really pleased to get the win. Priscilla played really good and it took me a while to get out of the blocks,” Dart said. “Everyone is fighting for every point so I had to keep doing what I was doing.”
Dart, who beat German former world top-10 player Andrea Petkovic and Kateryna Kozlova of the Ukraine in qualifying, will now play Latvian eighth seed Anastasija Sevastova who beat another Aussie, Daria Gavrilova, 6-3 6-3.