Johanna Konta sealed her 300th singles career match win and booked her place in the next round at the Aegon Open in Nottingham following the unfortunate retirement of her opponent Tara Moore due to a left foot injury.
The top seed was leading 6-2, 2-0 before the incident occurred and despite continuing and finishing that game Moore called time on the match. Konta was in control throughout and was not required to play at her best level, with her compatriot struggling on serve, hitting 10 double faults and only managing to make 50% of her first serves in. Breaks in the third and the seventh game of the first set and two breaks in the second left the world number eight in prime position to secure victory before Moore was forced to retire.
* Article originally published by me for UBITennis.net *
This was the Brits fourth meeting, but their first for four years and their first on the main WTA Tour. Konta won their last match in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in a 75k event in Barnstaple. The British number one also won the other two meetings in straight sets in 2011 at 25k events in Clermont-Ferrand and Wrexham.
Both players held serve to start the all-British encounter, but it was the top seed who made the early breakthrough on a third opportunity following a double fault and forehand error from the wildcard Moore.
The fifth game was a hard fought battle during which despite serving two more double faults to add to her five for the match so far, the world number 213 was able to save three more break points and keep her first set hopes alive.
Double faults continued to plague Moore on serve as she found herself down break point again. Konta went long with a backhand return to squander that chance but capitalised on the second after her compatriot’s slice backhand found the bottom of the net.
Konta’s level dipped in the following game to give her opponent a 0-30 advantage and a first chance to pull one of the breaks back. An unreturned serve followed by a roar of come on from the top seed brought her back to deuce and the world number eight was able to push on and close out the opening set 6-2.
Things went from bad to worse for the British wildcard at the start of the second set as she was broken on serve immediately before a comfortable hold from the top seed put Konta 2-0 up. The third game was another lengthy battle, with Moore giving her all to stay in touch with the top seed she recovered from 0-40 to move to game point before appearing to suffer from an injury to her left foot. The Brit, who reached the quarterfinals here last year, continued to fight, but after failing to secure the hold yet another double fault left her facing a fourth break point. The world number 213 hung on after hitting an excellent forehand winner up the line but could not convert on game point. Konta, albeit rather fortunately, sealed a double break and a 3-0 lead after a net cord dropped over the net out of reach of a struggling Moore.
In the next game, unfortunately for Moore she decided that she could not carry on and there was a warm embrace between the two Brits at the net. Not the manner in which Konta will have wanted to notch up her 300th career match win but she has reached the milestone nonetheless and advances to the next round here in Nottingham.