By Xavier Harley-Rudd
Johanna Konta, the British no3, was out of sorts to concede the knockout blow from Su-Wei Hsieh in a poor 1st Round encounter on Tuesday.
Wildcard Konta suffered from nerves on Court 3, surrounded by masses of British supporters, to stutter 6-4 6-3.
Eastbourne-based Konta, who moved to the town from Australia aged 14, was involved in a topsy turvy contest that comprised eight breaks of serve.
Konta trailed 4-2 in the opening set before squaring matters, only to allow Hsieh to break to take an important lead 6-4.
And Konta fluffed three break points in the next set, which lifted Hsieh to belatedly hit top gear and race away with the match.
Taipei’s Hsieh, the world no44, had showed more nous and experience to pick up the big points and wrap up each set once victory was in sight.
But Konta was not too dispirited ahead of her shot at Wimbledon and admitted: “I definitely had a tough match going out there and think I played quite well, it was just that she just took better advantage of her opportunities than I did.
“It was a good experience making my debut at Eastbourne, but I’ll go back to the practice courts.
“It’s all positive going into Wimbledon because this is another match under my belt and more experience playing girls at the top – I look forward to moving on from here.”
- Sydney, Australia
5′ 11″ (1.78 m)
- 154 lbs. (70 kg)
- Turned Pro
Johanna Konta moved to England from Australia aged 14, settling in Eastbourne.Turned professional in 2010, played in first WTA qualifying matches without success at Copenhagen and Quebec City. Returned to the ITF Circuit to collect two Singles titles in 2010.Made her debut in a main draw on the WTA Tour at 2011 Copenhagen after qualifying, only to fall at the first hurdle in the opening Round.In 2012, Konta failed to get out of qualifying at Eastbourne then came with two points of a shock victory the following week at Wimbledon, only to lose 10-8 in a two-day contest to American Christina McHale.Granted wildcard entries to three 2013 grass court tournaments – Birmingham, Eastbourne and Wimbledon – seeking to break into the world’s top 100.
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
2013 entrants and seeds
- Sara Errani, who brilliantly battled her way to the semi-finals at Roland Garros, misses Eastbourne with a late withdrawal.
- The exciting Italian is suffering from both a foot injury and an abductor strain.
- But her loss has elevated Aussie ace Sam Stosur to provisionally become a seeded player, although that is dependent following her shock exit at the 2013 French Open.
- Russian regular Nadia Petrova and France’s Marion Bartoli are battling it out with Stosur to take the final no8 seeding.
- Stosur, who only made late applications for wildcard entries at both Birmingham and Eastbourne grass court court events, will be among the players expected to progress during the week-long tournament.
- With Li Na also granted a wildcard entry following a poor performance at the 2013 French Open, then the Chinese no1 has stepped into the shoes of Errani to take over as no2 seed. Li will be extremely eager to kick start her grass court season with progress at Devonshire Park.
- Two former Eastbourne champions, top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki will provide stiff opposition on their favourite surface.
- Angelique Kerber fluffed five match points in the 2012 AEGON International final to Austrian ace Tamira Paszek, so the German star will be determined to go one step better having learnt from her mistakes.
- Former Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova as never had much luck at Eastbourne, and the Czech Republic ace will be keen to put that record straight ahead of SW19.
- Maria Kirilenko and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic will bring glamour to the courts as well as their amazing array of tennis weapons, although the Russian is unlikely to make much impact in a tough draw.
- Seeds are:
- Agnieszka RADWANSKA
- LI Na
- Angelique KERBER
- Petra KVITOVA
- Caroline WOZNIACKI
- Maria KIRILENKO
- Ana IVANOVIC
- Nadia PETROVA
- Other players set to compete at the 2013 AEGON International are:
- Sam Stosur (Australia)
- Marion Bartoli (France)
- Roberta Vinci (Italy)
- Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)
- Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic)
- Sorana Cirstea (Romania)
- Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
- Tamira Paszek (Austria)
- Alize Cornet (France)
- Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
- Elena Vesnina (Russia)
- Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)
- Laura Robson (Great Britain)
- Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei)
- Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)
- Johanna Konta (Great Britain)
- Elena Baltacha (Great Britain)
The British no3 dismissed China’s Saisai Zheng 6-1 6-3 but then fell to Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva 4-6 6-3 7-5 in the 2nd Round qualifier at Roland Garros.
Konta admitted: “I must learn from my mistakes and I will work harder. Gutted is an accurate description of how I’m feeling right now. I’m getting physically stronger and I enjoy grass, even though it’s a short season.
“I’m really looking forward to the grass season and thrilled with the tournament coming up in Eastbourne as it’s my home event. I love it in Eastbourne as it is my getaway. I train up in London, which is very busy so when I come back it’s my little haven.”
The 22-year-old, born in Sydney to Hungarian parents, became a British citizen in May 2012 and trains at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton under Louis Cayer.
Konta reached her highest WTA Tour ranking of no142 in February 2013, but with an impressive showing at the grass court events at Birmingham, Eastbourne and Wimbledon could break into the world’s top 100.
Baltacha, the Scottish no1, has always had a topsy-turvy career but brilliantly brushed aside world no108 Chang Kai-Chen of Chinese Tapei on grass for the second time in four days to earn a shot at a potential Centre Court appearance.
The British no2 dismissed Chang 7-5 6-2 on Saturday in 104 minutes to race to a showdown against the winner between former Junior Wimbledon champion Robson or Borthwick.
“Chang’s very tricky on grass because she’s doesn’t go away and can suddenly ping winners out of nowhere.
“I am delighted to get through, especially because it was very windy out. I have always loved playing in Eastbourne, which always helps, and the crowd were great today.”
British no6 Johanna Konta, based in Eastbourne, squeezed past her new compatriot Naomi Broady in a final set tiebreak 7-4 to earn a 3-6 6-1 7-6 success.
Former Australian citizen Konta, who splits her time between Eastbourne and her family in Hungary, admitted:
“It is tough playing against a fellow countrywoman because there is always that extra pressure, so I am just happy to have come out on top on that one.”