TOKYO, Japan – Johanna Konta produced an impressive performance to dispatch qualifier Gabriela Dabrowski in the Toray Pan Pacific Open, 6-2, 6-0.
Much of the first set was competitive, but the British player hit the accelerator at key moments to pull away from her Canadian opponent. And the former WTA World No.4 hit a purple patch of form at the beginning of the second as her opponent wilted under the relentless pressure.
"It was a tough match, the scoreline didn't show the quality of it," Konta said afterwards. "She definitely played really well in parts and I had to really raise my level to come through that.
"I had to be tough out there. She was playing some great tennis. I had to focus on every single point and accept she was going to play some good tennis."
The opening stages of the match were controlled by Konta, who won a couple of impressive service games while putting Dabrowski under pressure on her delivery. There was a sense that the 26-year-old was having to play to the peak of her powers just to stay on terms, changing the pace and spin on the ball intelligently, and producing some thrilling rallies as a by-product.
Konta’s consistent chipping away, though, would pay dividends in the sixth game of the match. Again there were entertaining exchanges, but after she won a rally in which Dabrowski had hung tough with some smart reactions, the resistance of her opponent was finally broken.
The pressure on Dabrowski became impossible for her to contain. Errors started to seep into her game, while the power of Konta’s groundstrokes and her willingness to come to the net meant that she became increasingly dominant. After 37 minutes, the set was secured.
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At the beginning of the second, there was a brief wobble as she was forced to deuce for the first time in the match, yet a couple of big deliveries got her out of trouble. It was as close as she would come to losing her serve throughout the match.
What followed was a highlight reel of winners as Konta produced her very best level. Three were produced in a row on Dabrowski’s next service game, allowing her to fashion three break points, the second of which saw her take the initiative in the set.
Konta’s level did not dip thereafter. While winners continued to be struck with impressive frequency, the resolve of her opponent faded. Errors that were not being made in the formative stages of the match now presented the WTA World No.45 with cheap points.
The final game provided a neat summary of the match. Dabrowski played some wonderful tennis, notably when match point down, when she delivered a stunning drop shot and a thumping overhead, but Konta simply had too much power.
"I thought it was an entertaining match, and I'm looking forward to playing another one here," the winner said in summary.
That next outing will be against either No.5 seed Sloane Stephens or Donna Vekic.