It took an extra day but for Jo Konta it was worth the wait. The Briton finally earned her first Wimbledon singles win, at the fifth time of asking. Having led Mónica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-1, 2-1 overnight after Tuesday’s rain delay, Konta made a slow start on the resumption, under still menacing skies, but recovered well to take her place in round two for the first time with a 6-1, 7-5 victory.
As the first British woman to be seeded at Wimbledon since Jo Durie in 1984, the overnight break had stopped Konta’s momentum in her tracks. When they came out on Wednesday after a further delay of more than four hours, the No16 seed began slowly, dropping serve to go down 3-2 in the second set. Puig, a semi-finalist at the warm-up event in Eastbourne, looked strong but the 25-year-old Konta, who served and returned well throughout, broke back for 4-4 and then a second break in the 12th game gave her victory.
“It was a definitely a tricky first-round match because she has been playing well on the grass,” the Briton said.
This time last year Konta was ranked 126. Twelve months on she is a serious threat to go deep into the second week, having reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January. Expectations, understandably, have gone through the roof but Konta is already a past master in deflecting hype, having worked hard with a mental coach, who insists she “stay in the present”. If it can sound a little obsessive at times, it is certainly working.
“I think it’s definitely challenging not to get too anxious to finish any match,” said Konta, who next plays the 2014 runner-up, Eugenie Bouchard. “But I think so far this grass season I’ve been quite well prepared for conditions like these. I really put it out of my mind. I was very happy [with my performance]. You have to rush out of the blocks [but] I was able to come back in that second set so I was pleased with that.”
“I’m very happy with how I’m able to serve and return. It’s important to get the first strike in on this surface. That’s where most points are won. It’s about staying offensive and trying to dictate out there.”
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