MIAMI, FL, USA -- 2017 Miami Open champion Johanna Konta booked safe passage into the second round of the 2019 edition on Thursday with a breezy 6-1, 6-4 victory over American qualifier Jessica Pegula.
Former Top 5 player Konta, who won the biggest title of her career in Miami two years ago, needed just 67 minutes to get past the World No.90 in the first meeting between the two players.
World No.38 Konta broke the American four times in the match and dropped serve only once -- in the very first game of the match. The British star won 82 percent of points on her first serve as she used that weapon to move past her 25-year-old opponent.
Konta will come right back to the courts on Friday to face No.18 seed Wang Qiang of China in the second round.
Pegula used her hard-hitting play to good effect in the opening game of the match, as the American crushed a forehand return winner on break point to lead by an early break. But Konta was unfazed by the American’s hot start and immediately struck back for 1-1.
That began a run for the Brit as Konta knocked off six straight games to claim the opening set. The 2017 Miami titlist used a deft lob to reach triple set point at 5-1, and after she missed her first opportunity with an errant volley, Pegula blasted a return long on Konta’s second chance to end the set.
Konta extended her run of game to eight straight, as she broke Pegula in the opening game of the second set and held for 2-0 before the American finally notched another game.
Pegula then had her chances to sink her teeth into the match when she held two break points during a protracted 3-2 game on Konta’s serve. Points during that game mostly rested on whether Konta’s forehand stayed in or out, and the Brit eventually claimed enough solid points in a row from that wing to hold after seven deuces.
As it turned out, the opening break of the second set would be all that Konta would get from Pegula during that timeframe. However, that was all that Konta would need, as she held onto her delivery through the remainder of the set, eventually closing out the victory by finishing a rally on match point with a punishing backhand.