By Ros Satar, in Birmingham
- Coco Vandeweghe def. Johanna Konta  6-1 6-3
- Konta stands her ground after being pressed as to whether Nottingham final loss and R2 loss here was a blow to her
BIRMINGHAM, UK – Johanna Konta’s bid to reach the Aegon Classic quarter-finals for the first time ended at the hands of Coco Vandeweghe.
Coco Vandeweghe def. Johanna Konta  6-1 6-3
On a decidedly cooler day in Birmingham, Johanna Konta was outhit by a determined Coco Vandeweghe in the final match of the day to decide the quarter-final line-ups. From the start of the match Vandeweghe was the one pulling the strings, pressing Konta to get the break on her second attempt, and making far shorter work of the next game, breaking Konta to love.
Although Konta saved herself the embarrassment of a bagel it was fair to assume that the first set was gone, even if she did make Vandeweghe wait until a second set point. It was a far more competitive affair, at least at the start of the second set, but at the first sign of pressure, Konta was broken once more, with the final indignity to be broken for the match.
As Konta described it, it was two extremes out on court: “I think, unfortunately in my case I think it was a bit of the two ends of the spectrum. She played very well. She did basically everything she needed to do to play solid. She served well. She returned quite well when she had a good strike. She hits a very big ball.
“So it’s quite difficult to play against someone like Coco on a fast surface like grass; when she’s hitting it well, you get few chances. And then my end of the spectrum was I, like you said, actually I didn’t find my footing very well, and once you go down quite quickly, after the first set, it’s actually quite difficult against someone like her to get back into the match.
“I mean overall I think I did a reasonable job at continuing to try and just continue to really do the best that I could, but it definitely wasn’t nearly good enough. But again, I think she did the simple things really well, and she did what she does. She played big and really just went after her shots.”
New coach for Vandeweghe Pat Cash had raced up the motorway from where he has been commentating at the Aegon Championships to watch his charge dismantle Konta, but for a player whose game and focus has been on routine, it has been a challenging adjustment to a new set-up.
Vandeweghe explained: “It hasn’t been easy. With a new coach comes different wants and asks of the player. And so it’s kind of adjusting around that at the start, but we had a week in Holland to kind of manage that and figure that out.
“Pat’s pretty simple in what he wants for me. It’s more just kind of managing the rest of it and him kind of getting into my routine, both ends of it. But definitely ending a relationship with a coach doesn’t put you in the best mind frame or area, but I had to get myself settled, and then from there it’s going and finding a replacement. And I was happy that Pat was more than willing to kind of fill the role.”
Not entitled to win every match
The post match interview with Konta took a turn when a Daily Mirror reporter asked her if a second loss to a lower ranked opponent in a short space of time was a blow to her Wimbledon preparations. Konta lost the Nottingham final to Donna Vekic on Sunday, after a nervy start from the Croatian. Vekic settled and lifted her level and took advantage in the final set to win just her second career title.
Losing to last year’s semi-finalist on Thursday, Konta admonished James Nursey, who seemed to focus on Vekic’s No, 70 world ranking and the fact that Vandeweghe was unseeded in this tournament.
Asking Nursey if indeed her loss was more a blow for him, she answered his question: “I think I actually played two good matches here. I played a very good first round against someone who made semis last week in Hertogenbosch. I think I played a great match there. I think last week I played five great matches. I lost to a player who played better than me on the day.
“Me losing second round against a very good player on this surface is by no means a blow. It’s part of the game. Just because I am 7 in the world does not mean I am entitled to [win] every single match. My job is to go out there and do the best that I can.”
Vekic showed a lot of the early promise she had demonstrated when she reached a main draw WTA final ages just 16. Vandeweghe reached a career best ranking of 19 on 15 May this year.
The Aegon Classic quarter-finals take place on Friday on Centre Court, starting at 11:30am BST.
Featured Image Credit: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
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