Johanna Konta has won her first round match at the Nottingham Open, as her grass court preparations get underway before Wimbledon starts. She was pitted against American Victoria Duval in the opening round, and showed no signs of poor form as she easily dispatched her opponent 6-3 6-0. She will now play either Freya Christie or Zheng Saisai in the next round, and will be expected to easily overcome either of them.
The victory in Nottingham follows a mixed couple of weeks for Britain’s number one. She was unceremoniously dumped out of the French Open in the first round by Julia Goerges, however also saw her world ranking rise to a career high 18. This means that she is the first woman since Jo Durie in the 1980s to break into the top 20. This new ranking has also assured her of being the second seed at the current tournament, with only Karolina Pliskova seeded higher than her.
Despite being seeded number two, there are still some potentially tricky draws for Konta to overcome, with the biggest being the presence of former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. Heather Watson, Laura Robson and Naomi Broady are also all in the draw, however none have yet completed their first round match.
For Konta, this tournament represents a real opportunity to get a title under her belt, but more importantly she’ll hope to use it to build momentum before Wimbledon. When the tournament starts, she’ll hope that all of the attention on Andy Murray means that she can progress under the radar, however if Murray were to go out, she’d be carrying the hopes of a nation on her shoulders. Winning the tournament might be a step too far for her, however a decent run to the latter stages is certainly not out of the question.
Another Brit was also in action yesterday, in the form of Aljaz Bedene. He came through his first round match at the Ricoh Open, beating Ernesto Escobedo 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, and will now go on to play Bernard Tomic, the tournament’s second seed. His victory was his first match since being knocked out of the French Open by Novak Djokovic and, like Konta, he’ll also be hoping for a food run when Wimbledon starts.
Of course, the big hope for Wimbledon is Andy Murray though, who was recently defeated in the final of the French Open by Novak Djokovic. He is currently taking a short break, however will return to play at Queen’s Club in the Aegon Championships, where he is the current holder of the trophy.