Jo Konta was in excellent form as she made her return to her home in Eastbourne and trounced Sorana Cirstea, the world No67, to reach the third round of the women’s draw at the Aegon International.
I was really happy with the way I was able to maintain my level. Playing here is pretty special to me, I feel at home Jo Konta
Last April Cirstea playing for the Romanian Fed Cup team and was playing Konta when the British No1 was reduced to tears by Ilie Nastase, the Romanian captain, who verbally abused her during the match. Konta went on to win that one too but there were no emotional scenes in Devonshire Park where she inflicted and emphatic 6-2 6-2 victory over her lower ranked adversary.
Following a courteous handshake after the 72-minute, one-sided contest, Konta said referring back to that Fed Cup episode: “I did the best I could to put that incident behind me. There was no sense of revenge. I played the ball that I had and the opponent I had today not the circumstances that happened in the past. I put it to bed a long time ago.
“Sorana is a very dangerous player. I was really happy with the way I was able to maintain my level. Playing here is pretty special to me, I feel at home.”
The world No.7 is now looking forward takeing on the French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the next round. “She’s coming off winning her first slam,” Konta said, “I’m looking forward to playing her and an opportunity to play a Grand Slam champion in good form. I’m excited to share the court with her.”
On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarter-finals as he finally made his winning debut in Eastbourne in a match held over by the Tuesday’s deluge.
The world No 4 took one-hour and 25 minutes to see off big-serving Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-3.
Following Serb’s struggles at the French Open, Djokovic was in a relaxed mood as he prepared for Wimbledon enjoying his sojourn by the seaside. “It (the sea air) does wonders,” he said smiling. “I went to Beachy Head and it was incredible, stunning views, beautiful nature.”
His next opponent is Donald Young who advanced who ousted his American compatriot Jared Donaldson 6- 7-5.
There was more stress on the women’s side where world No1 Angelique Kerber struggled to get past Kristyna Pliskova 4-6 6-1 7-5 whil former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza slumped to a 6-1 6-0 defeat by Barbora Strycova.
The world No2 Simona Halep also struggled but recovered beat the powerful qualifier from China, Duan Yingying 3-6 6-3 6-2. In order to get back on schedule following Tuesday’s washout Halep returned to the fray later in the day to start her third-round match only to have play suspended when the rain returned. Again she made a poor start finding herself a set down against Tsvetana Pironkova when play was called off.