Johanna Konta at the Nature Valley Open, WTA Nottingham 2018
Johanna Konta at the Nature Valley Open, WTA Nottingham 2018 | (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for LTA)

Konta loses out in heated conclusion to Nottingham final.

By Jake Davies

  • Ashleigh Barty [1] def. Johanna Konta [4] 6-3 3-6 6-4
  • Konta furious at line call at end of match, storms off court.
NOTTINGHAM, UK – British No. 1 Johanna Konta found herself edged out again in the Nottingham final for the second straight year as Ashleigh Barty claimed the title.

Ashleigh Barty [1] defeats Johanna Konta [4] 6-3 3-6 6-4

Johanna Konta missed out on claiming her first title since Miami of last year as she lost out in three tight sets to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the Nottingham final.

The match was mostly well-balanced, although the opening set was dominated by the Australian, who was aiming to win her first title on a grass court and second WTA title overall. She started off the match in the same sort of manner that she has been for the tournament. Making sure that Konta did not play the same point from point-to-point and ensuring that the Brit never saw the same ball and got into the groove that she likes to find herself in on a grass or hard court.

Barty’s level did eventually dip at the closing stages of the second set as her supreme level on serve was miles from where it usually is, but it felt like the Australian was simply surviving on court when she was taking heavy blows from Konta’s forehand side, particularly that shot going into Barty’s forehand, and the Brit’s play in the forecourt was pivotal in her securing the second set. The question was whether Barty would remain in her slump or return to her usual self.

Barty got the first break in the fourth game of the third set as Konta’s usually strong backhand cross-court proved to be detrimental for her in the first half in the deciding set, but she rallied away, remained resilient and tried to believe in her quest for the Nottingham title, hoping to do one better than last year.

The big moment came at deuce at 4-4, where the British No.1 was absolutely livid and frustrated at a line call that went against her and her level never really recovered from there as she dropped five of the next six points to concede the match in the most dramatic of fashion. The emotions certainly got the better of Konta, who decided not to shake the umpire’s hand and momentarily left the court and delayed the trophy ceremony.

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It is a frustrating end to an otherwise very good week for Konta, who made her first final in exactly a year and has salvaged more wins on her return to the grass than the whole of her clay-court season. A few big missed volleys in tight moments of the third set and an emotional letdown in the final two games was ultimately what decided the match, but Konta can look back on the week as a step in the right direction and a reason to be satisfied about her competitive level overall.

Konta will play in the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, which takes place between 17-24 June.