Wimbledon 2018: Johanna Konta makes hard work of Vikhlyantseva to proceed into second round

London: British number one Johanna Konta made hard work of beating 103rd-ranked Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva 7-5 7-6(7) in her opening match at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

Johanna Konta is England's best hope at Wimbledon, with Andy Murray pulling out just days before the tournament. AP

Johanna Konta is England's best hope at Wimbledon, with Andy Murray pulling out just days before the tournament. AP

Konta, a semi-finalist last year, lost control of a match she seemed to have in her pocket and was mightily relieved to escape a sticky Court Two with victory, having squandered five match points in the second-set tiebreak. With Andy Murray missing, Konta, seeded 22, and men’s 21st seed Kyle Edmund are shouldering the hopes of the home nation — a burden Konta seemed to be handling well for a set-and-a-half against tricky 21-year-old Vikhlyantseva.

She broke serve at 5-5 on her way to taking a tight opening set and had points for a double-break in the second set when Vikhlyantseva served at 2-4. Konta failed to push home her advantage, however, and dropped serve in the next game. Vikhlyantseva then held and Konta found herself in a difficult situation at 4-5 when she failed to punish a short ball and saw a backhand winner flash past her.

She saved the set point with a superb deep forehand from wide but a poorly executed attempt at a dropshot handed Vikhlyantseva another chance to take the match into a decider. Konta saved that one too but in the tiebreak she let a 6-2 lead evaporate and then served a double-fault at 7-6. She got the job done at the sixth attempt though with an easy volley into an open court.

Dominika Cibulkova will provide a tougher test for Konta in round two.

Updated Date: Jul 03, 2018 19:56 PM

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