BRISBANE, Australia - Forced to rally from a set down for the second straight match, No.5 seed Johanna Konta booked her place in the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Ajla Tomljanovic to close out Tuesday's play on Pat Rafter Arena.
Konta also dropped the first set in her first round match against American Maidson Keys on Monday, and was similarly pegged back by a big-hitting Tomljanovic in the opening set.
"To be honest, it's a great thing to have two tough matches early on," Konta said on-court after the match. "It's a boost, the match fitness, and it boosts a lot of the competitive scenarios that we're going to face the whole year. I'm sure my next match will be the same."
Despite serving a 71% over half of the first 10 games, Konta faced 13 break points in five service games in the first set, and lost serve a total of four times as the World No.130 built herself a lead in the first career meeting between the two.
However, the World No.9 steadied herself over sets two and three, as she cleaned up her tennis off the ground to storm through the second set and build a 5-2 lead in the third set.
Though Tomljanovic again found her range in the late stages of the match and held three break points to knot the decider at 5-5, Konta found her spots on serve in the clutch and advanced to the last eight in two hours, 26 minutes.
"It was a tough match - Ajla came out playing well, especially in that first set, and it took me a little bit of time to find my rhythm," Konta added.
"She made that very difficult, so that's a credit to her and she played incredibly freely at the end of the third set. There wasn't a lot in it so I'm very happy to have just stayed tough and just come through that."
Playing a Top 10 player for the first time since the 2014 French Open, Tomljanovic looked comfortable from the first ball as she sprinted out to an early 2-0 lead.
Though Konta responded to win the next two games, neither player could firmly grab hold on momentum for the duration of the opening set, which saw six straight breaks of serve between the two.
However, it was Tomljanovic who strung together just enough brilliance at the right time, as she broke and held at love to win the last eight points of the set.
The second set flipped the script of the first, as Konta held emphatically at love to begin the set, and quickly built a 5-0 lead as she looked to level the match.
After Tomljanovic returned from an off-court medical timeout to treat a right adductor injury, she held serve to stop Konta's run and get on the board, but the Brit send the match to a decider in short order on her third set point.
"I didn't feel like I was too far from playing the way I wanted to play," Konta said of the turnaround. "I just kept believing and trusting in that and trusting in my own process and kind of played myself into the match."
An early break went Konta's way in the decider, but Tomljanovic largely held her off as the Brit looked to build a bigger lead, saving break points in both the third and fifth games.
She was unable to save another in the seventh game, however, as Konta built a 5-2 edge and served for the match - and the No.5 seed needed every bit of that cushion as the 24-year-old's groundstrokes started to find the lines as they did the the opening set.
"I thought I played my first round really well. I was probably a little more nervous for that one just because it was the first one," Tomljanovic said in defeat. "Coming up today, I expected to play well because I've been training well. I've had good wins over the last couple of months, going deep into tournaments, even though they're not the same level like here.
"I've got nothing to be sad about. I'm disappointed just because I obviously wanted to win, and I love playing here. Looking ahead, I'm just pleased with where my game is going, and just hopefully I stay as healthy as possible."