AEGON International: Classy Konta powers past Makarova

Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta claimed her biggest victory to date as she defeated world number eight Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets at Devonshire Park on Tuesday morning.

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Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta

Konta playing in front of her home crowd had never faced a top 10 player before her thrilling second round 6-2, 6-4 victory.

24-year-old Konta defeated the 2010 Eastbourne champion in one-hour and 20 minutes after an impressive performance from the Brit.

Konta was ranked 138 places below Makarova, but showed little signs of being outside the 100 rankings as she claimed the first set at a canter.

Konta, who lives in Eastbourne, raced into a 3-1 lead in the first set, looking comfortable on her serve and troubling the Russian on her service points.

The Brit then had the chance to claim the first set on the left handers serve at 40-0 but the Russian fought back to deuce. This didn’t seem to stop the Australian-born Konta as she eventually broke Makarova for a second time to win the first set 6-2.

Konta, ranked 146th in the world, began the second set in similar fashion as she broke the Russian in her first attempt. Heading into a 2-0 lead.

Makarova won the third and claimed her first break point of the match to level the second set at 2-2.

Konta and Makarova held their service games before breaking each other, as the momentum ebbed and flowed, with the scores tied at 4-4.

At a crucial period Konta broke the 27-year-old for a fifth time in the match after an impressive rally. The Eastbourne crowd roared Konta onto victory as she served for the match, and there was only one outcome as she claimed a 6-4 victory to progress into the third round of the tournament.

After defeating 34th ranked Zarina Diyas in the first round and Makarova in the second, Konta faces either Spain’s Garbine Muguruza or Slovakia’s Polona Hercog in round three of the Aegon International.

The victory sees Konta beat her best finish at Eastbourne, after losing in the second round last year to Italian Camila Giorgi.

Konta said, “I’m very proud of my achievement today but I’m also keeping it into perspective that it’s just one win. I do believe I am still working on playing at a high level day in and day out, I just hope I can continue to do that.

“I haven’t played many high profile matches, so I am quite proud of myself with how I dealt with things and how I moved on from things quite quickly, so I was quite happy with that.”

The Eastbourne player praised the home support, she said, “It is special, and because there was so much support for me I really felt the noise and the energy of them. So I really appreciated that.”

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