Konta beats Watson in all-British US Open first-round clash

JOHANNA KONTA won her 'Battle of the Brits' with Heather Watson to reach the second round of the US Open.

Heather Watson fought hard in the first set and had four set points, but eventually succumbed to Johanna Konta. (Steven Paston/PA, 28644133)
Heather Watson fought hard in the first set and had four set points, but eventually succumbed to Johanna Konta. (Steven Paston/PA, 28644133)

The British number one had to fend off a series of set points in the first set tie-break before ultimately cruising to a 7-6 (7) 6-1 success.

The defeat was Watson’s fourth in a row since she won the pre-lockdown Mexican Open in February, but the 28-year-old will take heart from a gutsy first-set display.

Watson had toughed out the opening stages as Konta sought to pressure her second serve, and her resistance finally broke in the ninth game of the match.

But Watson showed admirable fortitude in breaking Konta straight back, and ultimately forced a tie-break which she bossed until she sat on the cusp of taking the set with a 6-3 lead.

Instead Konta hit back and turned the tie-break around, before ruthlessly exploiting her opponent’s disappointment with a double-break in the second set to take the tie beyond her opponent’s reach.

Watson narrowly avoided the dreaded bagel but Konta converted her second match point to book a second round meeting with Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

'I think it is always inevitably going to be a bit more stressful whenever you play a compatriot – there’s another level of anxiety,' Konta said.

'So I was anticipating that and I just kind of wanted to put that to one side and enjoy playing a really good player and competing well.

'I was pleased with how I competed and how I answered that question from my opponent today.'

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