Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta said her form is improving ahead of Wimbledon following her hard-fought loss to Caroline Wozniacki at Devonshire Park.
Konta, 27, went down 4-6 6-1 6-4 in front of a packed centre court on Wednesday and missed out on a place in the quarter-finals. Last year Konta reached the semi-finals of Eastbourne and Wimbledon and a career-high world ranking of four. She has since slipped back to 22 and her loss to Wozniacki was Konta’s seventh successive defeat against a top-10 player.
“You need to give credit to the top-10 players because they play constantly at their level and also can raise that level. That’s what I’m working towards,” Konta said.
“Having to defend so many ranking points does not bother me,” Konta said. “We’re in a very fortunate position in tennis where every week is a chance to gain points.”
Konta’s next outing will be at Wimbledon, which starts Monday. “My recent form is the best I’ve been playing this year, I’m definitely getting better and better,” she said. “Now I’m really looking forward to Wimbledon, it’s the best tournament in the world. I’m becoming more solid as the weeks go on.”
Konta began the match in fine form and broke Wozniacki’s first service game. Konta, at her best, is a formidable opponent on grass and in the early stages her serve and accurate groundstrokes rattled Wozniacki.
It was a well-contested first set and a far greater test for the British No 1 than her straight sets victory against Aleksandra Krunić on Tuesday. Wozniacki, the No 1 seed for the tournament, broke back but Konta replied with another break to make it 4-3. The pick of the rallies in the first witnessed a fierce exchange from the baseline before Konta showed good variety with a delicate drop shot to seal the break before serving out the first set in 45 minutes.
Wozniacki is a competeitor, as she proved when she won her maiden grand slam title in Australia earlier this year. Her movement and her ability to force Konta to play one more shot saw momentum shift in her favour. The Briton remained competitive but unforced errors at key moments helped the Dane take the second set 6-1.
Despite some good moments in the third and encouraged by a home crowd, Konta, as has happened to many a player on tour over years, was unable to break through a very good Wozniacki. The World No 2 won Eastbourne way back in 2009 and, on this form, looks a contender for the Devonshire title once more.
She will face another tough test in the quarter-finals on Thursday as she plays Ash Barty, the winner of the recent Nottingham Open, beating Konta in the final.
Wozniacki said, “After the first set I got more of a rhythm and I played better. I was lucky to get it in the end,” Wozniacki said. “We both played really well and I was just out there trying to get one more ball into the court and stay aggressive.”