By Ros Satar, in Eastbourne
- Caroline Wozniacki  def. Johanna Konta 4-6 6-1 6-4
- Talks about struggles at the end of last year and finding her competitive edge again
EASTBOURNE, UK – Johanna Konta bowed out of the Nature Valley International as top seed Caroline Wozniacki gets her first win over the Brit.
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Caroline Wozniacki  def. Johanna Konta 4-6 6-1 6-4
Top seed and last year’s runner-up Caroline Wozniacki ended British hopes after she beat Johanna Konta for the first time. However, it was the Brit who started the more decisively in the first set, breaking Wozniacki in the first game and although the Dane would brake back later in the set, Konta did not panic and broke straight back to regain the advantage.
Konta’s form started to dip as she looked to be over-pressing some of her shots with the second set rapidly getting away from her as the Dane built up a 5-1 lead. She had to work hard to get the second set, with Konta saving four set points and at one stage bringing up a break back point, but to no avail.
Wozniacki took an early lead and with the pair trading breaks, Wozniacki just kept her nose in front getting a first match win over the Brit on her third attempt.
She said, after the match: “I think I got another two great singles matches. Got the added bonus of getting some doubles in, as well. I think I had a good win yesterday against Aleksandra [Krunic] and had a tough match today against Caroline. I felt like I did a lot of good things, some things I would have liked to have done better, but I need to be — I need to be happy with the progress that I’m making, which I definitely am.”
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‘Finding the strength to fight the right way’
Much has been made of Konta’s losing streak at the end of the year, and her struggles to find that form during the start of this year. After such a stand out start to the 2017, her confidence took a hit and it has been a long road to getting match wins on the table with some consistency.
She explained: “The last couple years puts things in perspective a little bit, as well, because I did exceptionally well the last couple years, and it’s always going to be measured up to how I did then. But I think coming off the challenges end of last year and really not winning a match after Cincinnati, I had to work very hard on finding that competitive edge again and finding that strength within me to really be able to fight hard and fight the right way.
“I think I have been consistently doing that better and better as the season has gone on. I think I’m becoming tougher and tougher in matches. You know, it’s not an upward trajectory. I’d like to think it goes like this (pointing upward, smiling).
“I think overall I’m becoming just a bit more solid as each match goes on, as each week and day goes on, that we put in the work, and that’s why I’m pleased, because I feel like I’m becoming more also strong in how I want to be as a player. I think my identity is a bit clearer now than even I think it was last year.”
With Wimbledon now just around the corner and a lot of points to defend, did Konta feel she had enough preparation in the short time that the grass court season is upon us, and what were her expectations of this year’s tournament?
“I’m looking forward to the Championships. Won’t be the same as last year. Even if I make the same round, it will still be a different experience. It will be different challenges, different triumphs. I’m looking forward to that challenge. Most importantly, I’m going in there with the intention of being there till the very end, but just really fighting bloody hard every point.”
Wimbledon takes place between 2-15 July.
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