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By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta def. Roberta Vinci [7] 6-0 6-4
  • Barbora Strycova def. Heather Watson 6-4 6-2

ROME, ITALY – British No. 1 Johanna Konta advanced to the third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia defeated seventh seed Roberta Vinci but despite starting with a flyer, Heather Watson exited in the second round.

Johanna Konta def. Roberta Vinci [7] 6-0 6-4

Before this week, Konta had not won a tour level main draw round on the clay, before recording her first win over Johanna Larsson in convincing form, but in fairness on ranking it was a match she was expected to win.

Facing an Italian in the grand and ornate setting of the Fora Italico is another matter, but perhaps the tennis gods (or the statues at least) were on her side. Vinci has never performed well in her home tournament, only making it past the second round once (2013).

The pressure was certainly telling at the start of the match. There was no sign of the creativity that we have come to see from the tour veteran, looking inhibited in her shots, as Konta swept through the first set as swiftly as the court beaters who sweep the arena in the breaks.

The crowd were muted, Vinci was not as she gesticulated animatedly in her coaching time-outs before heading off to the bathroom at the change of ends to rethink her strategy. Meanwhile Konta decided to keep her coach firmly where he was!

The second set had four successive breaks of serve to start and suddenly the Italian crowd burst into life, enthusiastically cheering a Konta double-fault, and at once stage even eliciting a heartfelt yelp of ‘VAMOS’ from the Brit. Her coaching time-out saw her mentor telling her not to make this match emotional, no matter what the crowd wanted. At the other end of the benches, Vinci was still wondering what she needed to do to get back in the match.

The single break advantage was all Konta needed to hang onto, to book her place in the third round.

She spoke to BBC Sport after the match, saying: “I definitely came out with good momentum and I really tried to capitalise on that, really take my game to her. It was inevitable for her to raise her level, she’s top 10 and a Grand Slam finalist for a reason.

“I was just really happy I was able to stay tough when I needed to and stick it out with a game plan, and being able to serve it out in the end is always a good feeling.”


Johanna Konta v Misaki Doi – H2H: Konta leads 3-0

Misaki Doi added to the all-around seed carnage by dumping 10th seed Lucie Safarova out in straight sets. Although she trails Konta 0-3 in their head to head this is their first match-up on the dirt, and looking back over her clay court season they are pretty much equal each other for matches played.

We can expect a lot of movement in this game – Konta impressed with some solid movement against Vinci and some good feel at the net – she may need that against Doi who is an aggressive player who also likes to come forward.

Again, on paper this is all Konta’s to win, but Doi can be a handful.

Prediction: Konta in two sets.


Barbora Strycova def. Heather Watson 6-4 6-2

What a result this looked like being, as Watson charged ahead 4-0 against the Czech who hadn’t really had a bad clay court season in comparison, but she was at sixes and sevens at the start of the match as Watson surged through the first four games.

In between howls of annoyance, Strycova ploughed through the next six games to take the first set, and hit high gear in the second set, going on another six game tear for the straight sets win.

Talking to BBC Sport, Watson said: “I was playing super well, then my opponent stepped up her game, I dropped mine a little and it turned the match completely.

“That happens sometimes. It happens more often on clay than other surface. It was a big opportunity for me today and I’ll have to learn from this one.”

Play continues at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at 11am (10am BST). Konta and Doi are scheduled on Court 1, not before 1:30pm (12:30pm BST).

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