The opening day of the Battle of the Brits Team event at Roehampton produced a series of shocks which highlights the need for competition before players resume their professional careers when the tours return next week following the four-month layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
I was surprised with how I played. When I found out I was playing her I was nervous and didn't want to get hit off the court Jodie Burrage
Jodie Burrage, by reaching a British Tour final as well as the title round of the Progress Tour Women’s Championships, proved the point as she used her match fitness effectively to upset the world No.14 Johanna Konta, the British No.1, in straight sets.
Konta, who had declined to compete in the Progress Tour which had been devised to give women much needed match practice, was certainly out of form as she crashed out 6-4 6-3 following a confident performance from the 21-year-old from Hindhead in Surrey, world ranked 289.
“It feels amazing to win against such a great player; I feel overwhelmed,” a surprised and delighted Burrage, the British No.7, said.
“I was surprised with how I played. When I found out I was playing her I was nervous and didn’t want to get hit off the court.
“This morning I was excited to get out there and swing. I didn’t have any pressure.”
Konta, 29, who had committed to playing the opening WTA event in Palermo, Italy, next week, has revealed she has withdrawn her entry in order to concentrate her preparations for the US Open, congratulated her conqueror: “She is a good ball striker and has the ability to play at a very good level.”
The event, the latest to be organised at the NTC during this month to provide players with that much needed competition, pits two 13-player teams, the Union Jacks and the British Bulldogs, chasing points from as series of singles, doubles and mixed matches.
Burrage’s victory set the Bulldogs off to a good start only for the pendulum to swing dramatically in favour of the Union Jacks who by the end of the day, had scored six wins from the 9 matches scheduled.
Cameron Norrie, Kyle Edmund and the highly-rated 17-year-old Emma Raducanu, all recorded excellent victories over, respectively, Dan Evans 4-6 6-3 10-7, Anton Matusevich 7-5 6-3 and Katie Boulter 6-4 6-3.
The final match on Centre Court produced another surprise when Joe Salisbury partnering Harriet Dart, overcame Jamie Murray and Heather Watson 7-5 3-6 10-8 in the last match of the day.
On Court One Aidan McHugh survived a tense contest with Ryan Peniston 6-4 3-6 10-7 and Dom Inglot with Alastair Gray, took out Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool 6-4 7-6(3).
The only consolation for the Union Jacks following their initial great start by Burrage, was Glasspool and Naomi Braody’s comfortably win over Inglot and Eden Silva 6-4 6-2 and Heather Watson’s 7-5 6-4 defeat of Beth Grey.
The British Bulldogs ended the day with 9 points to 4 and will be happy with their performances though there is a long way to go in the tournament, organised by Jamie Murray.
The action is set to continue over the week culminating on Sunday when the first team to collect 60 points will be crowned Battle of the Brits Team champions.
Jodie Burrage (UJ) bt Johanna Konta (BB) 6-4 6-3
Cameron Norrie (BB) bt Dan Evans (UJ) 4-6 6-3 10-7
Kyle Edmund (BB) bt Anton Matusevich (UJ) 7-5 6-3
Emma Raducanu (BB) bt Katie Boulter (UJ) 6-4 6-3
Joe Salisbury/Harriet Dart (BB) bt Jamie Murray/Heather Watson (UJ) 7-5 3-6 10-8
Aidan McHugh (BB bt Ryan Peniston (UJ) 6-4 3-6 10-7
Lloyd Glasspool/Naomi Broady (UJ) bt Dom Inglot/Eden Silva (BB) 6-4 6-2
Heather Watson (UJ) bt Beth Grey (BB) 7-5 6-4
Dom Inglot/Alastair Grey (BB) bt Dan Evans/Lloyd Glasspool (UJ) 6-4 7-6(3)