Eastbourne: Johanna Konta breezes past Sorana Cirstea in second round

Media playback is not supported on this device

Best five shots: Johanna Konta beats Sorana Cirstea at Eastbourne
Aegon International, Eastbourne
Venue: Devonshire Park, Eastbourne Date: 26 June -1 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online

British number one Johanna Konta eased past Romania's Sorana Cirstea in the second round at Eastbourne.

Konta, the world number seven, registered an emphatic 6-2 6-2 win over 62nd-ranked Cirstea.

She was due to play again on Wednesday against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko but play was abandoned for the day because of heavy rain.

Meanwhile, world number one Angelique Kerber battled past Czech Kristyna Pliskova 4-6 6-1 7-5.

Romanian world number two Simona Halep also had to come back from a set down to beat Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Another Czech player, Barbora Strycova, stunned Spain's Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-0 in their second round match on court four.

But British number three Heather Watson will have to wait until Thursday to start her third-round match against Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Konta powers into third round

Johanna Konta
Konta has won 26 of her 35 singles matches this year, and claimed two WTA titles

Konta, who lost the Nottingham Open final to Donna Vekic earlier this month, is searching for her first grass title on home soil.

She last met Cirstea in an ill-tempered Fed Cup singles match in April, where Konta was reduced to tears by abuse from Romania captain Ilie Nastase.

But in front of her home crowd, Konta looked composed. She struggled with her second serve as she and Cirstea traded breaks, but she ensured the first hold of the match with a fine backhand down the line.

Despite the obvious power in Cirstea's forehand, she could not meet enough of Konta's returns, and the Briton sent down two aces as she clinched the first set.

Cirstea's first service game in the second set was a tight encounter as she struggled to return Konta's speedy forehands, and Konta broke on the second attempt.

In a dominant performance, Konta won seven games in a row as she moved to 4-0 and, despite a worrying slip on the grass, she wrapped up the match in quick time.

Konta dismissed suggestions she had been driven by the recent bad experience in the Fed Cup.

"I wasn't playing in a Fed Cup setting," the 26-year-old said. "I wasn't going up against an emotion and I wasn't going up against a past experience.

"I was going up against an opponent who happened to be Sorana, and I prepared the best I could for that match. I played the ball that I had and the opponent I had but not the circumstances that happened a month ago.

"I can only speak for me personally, but I put it to bed a long time ago."

Elsewhere, compatriot Laura Robson suffered a 6-4 2-6 6-4 defeat by Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round of the Aegon Southsea Trophy.

The 23-year-old lost the first set on the grass court at Canoe Lake Leisure on Tuesday before rain halted her match and play was moved indoors to the Portsmouth Tennis Centre where the Russian proved to be too strong.

Kerber edges Pliskova encounter

Angelique Kerber
Kerber has been world number one since May, when she took the top ranking from Serena Williams

Kerber, who won the Australian and US Open in 2016, has won 20 and lost 13 of her 33 matches during a difficult year.

She was beaten in the first round of the French Open and in the fourth round at Melbourne as she defended her title, and has yet to win a WTA title in 2017.

Kerber made an inauspicious start in Eastbourne, outmuscled by the forehand of the world number 44, but her opponent lost power as the second set progressed.

Pliskova cut a frustrated figure as she lost her rhythm and also received medical attention after seemingly being stung on her left arm, which saw a sluggishness creep into her game.

The final set was error-strewn, with neither player showing any real quality, but the tension got to Pliskova first as she allowed Kerber to break through a messy game at 5-5.

Her forehand lost power and eventually Kerber served out the match to set up a third-round meeting with Spain's Lara Arruabarrena.

"The first round is always tough and I think it was a good match for both of us. I was focusing on playing point by point and I'm happy that I'm through," Kerber told Eurosport.

Top Stories