By Ros Satar
- Johanna Konta  def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands [W] 6-3 6-3
- Konta faces Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round
NEW YORK, USA – It was a clinical display by the British No. 1 Johanna Konta as she booked her place in the second round of the US Open.
After the giddy heights of winning her first WTA Tour title in Stanford (not to mention racking up a wealth of points in the US Open Series) and a sidestep in Rio, Konta could be forgiven if an element of nerves would creep in as she faces defending fourth round points.
Yes, her rise has been rapid up the ranks, but in reality this is where the groundwork started, and playing an Olympic Gold medallist on home turf was going to be a potentially tough start for the Brit.
We need not have worried though – her serving was firing well, and despite all the hubbub coming from the titanic Arthur Ashe court with Phil Collins warbling away before the night session, Konta’s focus was locked in as she picked off an early break.
Mattek-Sands stayed with Konta after the early break, but lapsed just a touch for Konta to break for the first set. Konta would break the American again in the second set for an early lead, but the rock solid serve faltered just a little to give Mattek-Sands a glimmer of hope.
Konta had to fend off four break points to pull ahead 5-2 and looked to break the American one more time to clinch the set but Mattek-Sands was coming in a lot more, realising she was not going to be able to hang in with Konta on the baseline.
The Brit finished the match as she started – with a solid hold to love, and was on her way in convincing style.
Konta v Pironkova – First Meeting
It is another first time match-up for Konta, as she faces Pironkova, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist. Much like Konta, silverware on the tour came late to the Bulgarian when she won her first title in Sydney in 2014, but has had to contend with injuries this year.
That being said, on her beloved grass she got some solid matches in but was bounced out of Wimbledon early, with the same on the slow courts of Rio.
Pironkova prefers the faster surfaces, and picked up some good wins through Cincinnati qualification and a convincing win over Daria Kasatkina but lost in the first round of New Haven qualies.
We always say this but on paper, this has a win for Konta written all over it, but she can expect Pironkova to try and burn her with passing shots and the Bulgarian can mix things up a lot with flat shots and slices in with powerful groundies.
Konta, though, just seems to have more consistency and focus at the moment and this should be another solid win for the Brit.
Prediction: Konta in two sets.
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