By Ros Satar, in Madrid
- Bernarda Pera def. Johanna Konta 6-4 6-3
- Konta’s thoughts on Murray’s potentially delayed comeback
MADRID, SPAIN – Johanna Konta fell once more to Bernarda Pera, but relishes the prospect of facing her challenge again, before speaking about Murray’s potentially continued absence.
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Bernarda Pera [Q] def. Johanna Konta 6-4 6-3
On a blustery day in Madrid, Johanna Konta failed to weather the initial storm that was a free-swinging Bernarda Pera. We know that Pera is not one to give a slow start credence, and she capitalised, breaking Konta in the first game.
The Brit managed to at least stay in contention but could not capitalise on the only break point chance she had early in the set. She saved one set point, but a tumble on the clay brought Pera a second and this time she made no mistake of putting Konta on the back foot once more.
The second set looked to be just as combative with two long service holds to start, but Pera was always knocking at the door. Konta fended off one break point, but surrendered her serve the next time around, to give Pera an advantage that she held on to for the match, as Pera broke the British No. 1 to love.
Speaking immediately after the match, she said: “I think overall it was a good match, There wasn’t very much I did wrong. If anything it was just maybe starting the match a little bit better. I think i started a little more nervous than she did.
“Her ball was really kicking up. but otherwise, I did a lot of things right and actually i played really well. She played incredibly well. I mean credit to her, if she can carry on playing like this because it was a very high level and that’s what she’s also been doing well. She obviously likes to play me (laughs).”
All is not lost for now though – Konta still has a foot in the doubles court with partner Zhang Shuai.
“I messaged her the beginning of last week and I asked if she had anyone to play doubles with, she said no, so I said ‘yay!'(Laughs).
“I’ve known her for quite some time and she’s probably one of the nicest girls on tour. She plays some great doubles. She’s a great player in general so I think overall I’m enjoying playing with her.
“I’ve been more and more actively trying to play doubles wherever I can and everywhere I get in. For that reason, I haven’t played as many singles matches this year as, for example, at the same time last year so I am looking for that match play in doubles as well. It’s a way to get court time, it’s a way to get match fit in a way and it can definitely have a really good positive influence on the singles.”
Murray: ‘A legend who will be sorely missed’ over the summer
The news broke on BBC Sport that Andy Murray‘s expected comeback for the grass season during Konta’s match. Murray, who was confirmed for both Rosmalen and Queen’s as Wimbledon warm-ups must surely also be in jeopardy should the worst case scenario be played out.
Konta told us: “I still hope he can [come back as planned]. Obviously he needs to do what’s best for the longevity of his career. I mean, I can really just feel for him. I can’t imagine how sad he must be to be away from the game which he obviously loves so much.
“He must be doing everything that he can to come back fitter and stronger and be playing for a long time so if he’s not around through that period he will be sorely missed. Hopefully he gets better soon.”
Konta maybe had a flavour of the weight of expectation on her shoulders last year at Wimbledon. While Murray hobbled out at in the quarter-finals, Konta reached her second Slam semi-final, losing to Venus Williams, and had a small taste of the larger media frenzy that comes with performing well at a home slam.
She continued: “I’ve never felt what sort of media he’s done. I’ve only just ever felt my own commitments. What he’s achieved in the sport back home and globally – it’s phenomenal and he’s a legend at home. So I don’t necessarily put myself in the same boat as him, I’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m doing the best that I can.
“I’m looking forward to that period but right now I’m actually really enjoying being on the clay and playing a good level and I definitely am enjoying improving right now and that will hopefully start showing through more and more matches.”
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