PARIS, France - Johanna Konta is through to the third round of Roland Garros for the first time after fighting past determined wild Lauren Davis to win 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
Coming into the year’s second Grand Slam event, Konta had yet to win a match at the French Open in her career. But the 28-year-old has flourished in a clay court renaissance this season, reaching her first WTA final on the surface in Rabat and backing it up with a run to the championship match in Rome.
In Roland Garros, Konta finally snapped her four-match main draw losing streak with a win over qualifier Antonia Lottner, 6-4, 6-4 to move into the second round. She came into the clash against Davis full of newfound confidence as she took the court at the Court 1 ‘bullring’ stadium.
After a tentative start, with both players feeling each other out, it was the British No.1 who took control. Konta brought up a pair of break points at 3-3, before earning the first break to secure a 5-3 lead. That lone break made the difference, as Konta fought off three break-back chances to seal the set.
But in the second set, it was all Davis as Konta seemed to pull back into passive tennis, letting her opponent dictate proceedings. The American reeled off five games in a row to open with a 5-0 lead, and quickly served it out to take the set.
Konta replied emphatically to dropping the second set, hitting the reset button and reeling off five games of her own to start the final set with a daunting 5-0 lead. But although she had been playing her signature flat, aggressive style for the opening five games, she seemed to pull back once more and allowed Davis a lifeline to stay in the contest.
Davis saved three match points across two games, fighting her way back to earn a break at 5-2. She extended her run to 5-3, and was up 40-0 on Konta’s serve before the Brit rallied back and closed out the match.
Konta will take on Viktoria Kuzmova in the third round, after the Slovak advanced past No.4 seed Kiki Bertens. Bertens was forced to retire in the first set due to illness.
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Also into the third round, giant-slayer Kaia Kanepi - who knocked out Julia Goerges in the opening round - continued her run against Zhang Shuai, rallying from a set down to win 6-7(4), 6-0, 7-5. No.23 seed Donna Vekic also advanced, also coming back from a set down to defeat Rebecca Peterson, 1-6, 6-1, 6-0.