Johanna Konta at the WTA Mutua Madrid Open, 2018
Johanna Konta of Great Britain in action at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Johanna Konta beats Rybarikova for second week in a row in Rome opener

By Jake Davies

  • Johanna Konta defeats Magdalena Rybarikova [17] 6-4 6-3
ROME, ITALY – Johanna Konta reached the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia tournament in Rome with a straight sets win over Magdalena Rybarikova.


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Johanna Konta def. Magdalena Rybarikova [17] 6-4 6-3

Johanna Konta was due to face the Prague and Madrid champion Petra Kvitova in the first round of Rome, but the Czech star had to pull out with a right hamstring injury and that reshuffled the draw, placing Magdalena Rybarikova as Konta’s new opponent.

The signs were promising for the British No.1 as she knew she had what it takes to beat the Slovakian, both in recent matches after beating her in Madrid last week, but Konta also held a dominant head-to-head record of 3-0.

The first set was mostly about missed opportunities for Konta, who squandered a total of nine break points in the opening three Rybarikova service games and it looked as though the set was slipping away from the Brit when she fell down a break.

Konta reacted, showed a certain mental resilience, similar to what she showed last week in Madrid and powered her way back by breaking twice to win the first set, 6-4.

The second set saw many momentum changes, with many breaks of serves, but again, Konta was in a difficult position at a break down at 3-2, but the Brit clawed through the next four games to win the match in straight sets.

The performance was by no means a clean, clinical offering from the Brit, but these matches are the kind of matches that Konta had been losing regularly in the last twelve months, so getting through another match in back-to-back weeks, where she does not necessarily play at her best level, showed tremendous character as she battled through in difficult, gusty conditions in Rome.

Konta now moves on to the second round, where she will face Su-Wei Hsieh, the player that beat Konta in the first round of the French Open last year, or the lucky loser Aryna Sabalenka.