Jo Konta progressed comfortably into the last 16 of the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne, crushing Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic 6-1 6-3 on Devonshire Park’s centre court to set up a clash against top seed Caroline Wozniacki.
World No.22 Konta, a semi-finalist in each of the past two years at her home town tournament, simply overpowered her conqueror in the opening round of last year’s US Open.
I believe in my ability and I know I can play well on this surface at home Jo Konta
She reeled off five games in a row in the first set and 11 points in succession at one stage in the second set against world No.39 Krunic, who required treatment to her left knee at the end of the first set.
“I think I’m making good progress. I’m happy I got through my first round and also got to play a good doubles, so it’s a good day overall today,” Konta said. “I believe in my ability and I know I can play well on this surface at home.”
And she is looking forward to her clash with the top seed. “I know she’s an incredibly tough competitor and is obviously a Grand Slam champion this year so she’s playing great tennis. It’s a great opportunity for me to play one of the best players in the world and keep trying to raise my level.”
Meanwhile Petra Kvitova, seeded three, backed up her bid to make it two titles in as many weeks scored by scoring a 7-5 6-3 win over Kateryna Bondarenko. There she will lock horns with 2008 Eastbourne champion Agnieszka Radwanska, who produced some breath-taking tennis to fight her way out of trouble and into the third round 5-7 7-6(4) 6-0 over No.15 seed Daria Gavrilova.
The Czech said she was happy to get through her opening match. “I felt the courts are a little bit different compared to Birmingham,” said Kvitova. “It took me a while to get used to the centre court today, but I think it was fine in the end.”