Johanna Konta made a dent against Barbora Strycova but not enough to advance at the Brisbane International on Monday. The British star managed to win a set against the Czech veteran, but too many mistakes cost her the match in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 defeat on Stadium Court at the Queensland Tennis Centre.
It marked their third meeting and the first since the Brit went down in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Konta last played a match back at the US Open, taking time to heal from a chronic knee injury through the remainder of the season. The 28-year-old tried to not only start the news season well but also end her struggles against Strycova, while the cunt world number 33, Czech Strycova began the season hoping that she could keep the streak going against the British No.1.
She started with a good opening serve, allowing Konta only a point in the first game. The Brit did just the same in the following game, but made her intentions to break in the third. Strycova wouldn’t allow it and forced deuce, winning three breaks to hang on. The Czech opened the gap in the fourth making it 3-1 with the break, and 4-1 with a service hold. The Brit cut the margin in half in the sixth staying ahead on serve but couldn’t convert in the seventh leading Strycova to play for the opening set.
Konta didn’t have the best time in the first as a double fault marking the Brit’s biggest mistake gave Strycova the set in 41 minutes. The Czech scored her fifth consecutive set win over Konta with 14 of 19 points won on the first serve and all four break points. Konta’s return game let her down winning only 5 of 19 including 18 unforced errors giving the Czech a weakness to focus on.
Konta put a stop to vulnerabilities as she managed to match Strycova in the opening of the second set. They went through four games on serve, until a break in the fifth was successfully consolidated with a hold thereafter. The Czech got back on track in the seventh but trailed Konta who wanted to level the match by any means. A solid stance at the service line assisted in the Brit holding serve in the eighth to play for the set with Strycova serving. The Czech let up just enough to give Konta two breakpoints where she held on to her last one before taking it to end 42 minutes.
It ended the five-set winning streak for Strycova, who was going the distance with Konta who won 92 percent from the first serve and converted on two breakpoints. With the match even at one apiece, the challenge came from both in the shape of breaks of serve. The Czech got the set started followed by one from Konta and another following that. The 33-year-old wouldn’t let the British number one keep the breaks going, answering with a hold of serve in the fourth.
Konta followed it with a hold to sit a game down, but the advantage for Strycova was well in her hands. She returned the two-game margin and broke in the seventh serving for the match. Konta refused to go out on the service game of the Czech, forcing a break point late. It was her own game that brought her to defeat, giving Strycova two match points. On her second try, the 33-year-old got it done in 2 hours and 13 minutes to improve to 3-0 in her series with the Brit.