Konta makes seamless transition from clay to grass
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Johanna Konta made a seamless transition from clay to grass on Monday, beating Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 6-2 at the Nature Valley Classic in her first match since the French Open semifinals.
Konta is only ranked two places higher than No. 20 Kontaveit, but played at a high level throughout and wrapped up victory in an hour and 12 minutes at the warm-up event for Wimbledon.
Konta, Britain’s leading female player, reached her third Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros, where she lost in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova.
Two of the highest seeds were defeated in the first round in Birmingham, with Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka both losing in three sets.
The fourth-seeded Svitolina, who has been struggling with a knee injury, lost 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to Margarita Gasparyan.
Sabalenka, the fifth seed, showed her frustration after losing a break advantage in the final set to go down 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (1) to Hsieh Su-wei.
Top-ranked Naomi Osaka plays her first match on Tuesday against Maria Sakkari of Greece, and has acknowledged she is still “not really that comfortable” on grass. Osaka has yet to make it past the third round at Wimbledon.