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Johanna Konta survives 'epic' Vekic clash to keep Wimbledon hopes alive

06 July 2017

Johanna Konta has another chance to get avenge a recent defeat as she faces Aegon Open champion Donna Vekic once more on grass. I said after I'd hit on Sunday, that that was kind of the first test to see how I was doing.

'However, I play my career in a tennis season context, so I don't live my career for this week particular, this fortnight particular. I wasn't really sure.

She added: "The last few years I was struggling a little bit, not to find my game but to accept not everything was going to come as easily as when I was younger".

You would hardly look at the bunting and book a street party on the strength of Konta's Wimbledon form guide.

A theme of their match in Paris was Konta's inability to capitalise on her superiority, so it infuriated her she squandered a 40-0 lead in the next game and wafted a forehand wide to let Hsieh back into the set.

Thankfully her movement seemed to be OK in a match that was more remarkable for the awful serving from her opponent Su-Wei Hsieh.

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"I think that would be something that would be very exciting for them as well".

So spare a thought for a player ranked 51 places below her opponent, and whose watching boyfriend Stan Wawrinka was a surprise loser in the first round of the men's singles on Monday. All that fretting that Konta's aching thoracic spinal cord would cause Britain's best hope to miss her home tournament felt like a fuss over nothing when she commenced her Wimbledon campaign with a serene 6-2, 6-2 victory against the inventive but flimsy Hsieh Su-wei, the Taiwanese doubles specialist who knocked her out of the French Open, even though it was only on Sunday that fretting over the terrible bang to her head, that sent pain tumbling into her upper back, receded.

"I'm still enjoying it, though". She said: "I absolutely love playing in front of Brit crowds". I felt going into the match. She reached the final at a grass-court warm-up tournament in Birmingham last month but lost to Vekic.

Azarenka, back in the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the Australian Open previous year, will next face local favorite Heather Watson, who defeated No. 18 seed Anastasija Sevastova Latvia 6-0, 6-4.

Watson, 25, said: "I'm happy to get through the first round".

No one could question the players' commitment in what was an nearly gladiatorial contest; Konta's roar and Vekic's tears after the final point speaking volumes about what they had been through. "You know, that doesn't guarantee anything here results-wise, but I definitely have prepared the best I can to perform here. But I was pleased with how I hung in there and was able to close it out in the end".

Johanna Konta survives 'epic' Vekic clash to keep Wimbledon hopes alive