Johanna Konta overcomes a slow start to defeat American veteran Vania King in three sets to advance at the Shenzhen Open.
WTA Staff

SHENZHEN, China - No.3 seed Johanna Konta recovered from a set and 1-3 down to defeat Vania King, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, to reach the last eight at the Shenzhen Open.

Konta had dropped just two games in her first match of the season, but endured the slowest of starts on Tuesday against King, who spent last year rebuilding her ranking following a back injury that sidelined her for most of 2015.

"Every match is difficult, regardless of the scoreline," she said in her post-match press conference. "Yesterday had its own challenges; today had different challenges. I needed to adjust today and that took time, but I'm definitely happy with how I was able to get back into the match.

"I think I fought well and I kept myself very present and grounded, trying to create my own momentum and keep my bubble of focus. From there, it got closer and I was able to raise my level, and perhaps she dropped hers. It was a little bit of both."

The upset bug that had taken out No.7 seed Monica Niculescu to start the day seemed poised to hit Konta from the start. King broke at love to kick off the opening set and never looked back, breaking once more to put herself one set away from victory.

"I think all credit to Vania. I think she played a very very good first set; throughout the whole match she played quite well, but especially in the first set she came out really strong and didn't give me much of a chance to get much of a grip on the match. So I had to work incredibly hard, dig deep and really just try to create my own momentum in the second set.

"Once I did that, it became more of a competition."

From a set and a break down, the British No.1 found herself three games from defeat, but nonetheless rallied, winning five straight games to level the match.

The decider was ultimately a more straightforward affair as Konta broke twice to seal victory in 96 minutes.

Up next for Konta is either Kristyna Pliskova or qualifier Chang Kai-Chen. Pliskova began the week with a thrilling win over No.6 seed Anastasija Sevastova, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), while Chang scored an upset over Viktorija Golubic in straight sets.

"I had a very good season last year with a lot of great memories to take from that," Konta said when asked to reflect on her breakthrough 2016. "But most importantly I'm looking to keep myself healthy this year to play a full season as much as I can. Every time I go out on the court, I'm trying to apply the same mentality as last year; I want to leave it all out there, compete every single point and do my best, looking to improve every single day.

"I have no outcome goals. I always do my best to stay process-orientated; I may sound like a broken record, and it may sound boring, but it's the way I am!"

Earlier in the day, No.7 seed Niculescu lost a tense two-setter to Wang Qiang, 7-6(4), 6-4, and suffered from health issues that required a medical timeout.

"For some reason, I couldn't breathe so well. I had no air, so I had to call the physio. I felt I gave all I had in the first set, and then it was tough for me. I'm disappointed, but I have to wait for Hobart and Australia.

"I had some problems starting from yesterday, but I don't know why I didn't feel my best today. It was important to take that first set, but every time I had to serve, I felt my arms were heavy and I had no power. I still have to play doubles [with Simona Halep] so I hope to play better there."