Unseeded Johanna Konta downed Alison Riske for the second straight week among first-round matches on Monday at the Foro Italico.
WTA Staff
May 13, 2019

ROME, Italy - For the second time in as many weeks, Johanna Konta downed American Alison Riske to open her week at a European clay court event. 

The British No.1 recorded a 6-4, 6-1 win over the American World No.52 in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Monday, in an identical scoreline to their first-round match last week at the Mutua Madrid Open. 

"I knew going into the match, having played her so recently, that I was coming up against a tough competitor," Konta said.

"Alison competes incredibly well so I knew she was going to be there from the very first point to the very last. I'm just very pleased that I was able to stay there with her, raise my level when I needed to, and play a tough match against a tough opponent.

Konta saved all six break points she faced in the one hour, 29-minute encounter, in which she won 77 percent of the points behind her first serve and broke Riske four times.

"I think, more than anything, I'm most pleased with how I was able to maintain my level and raise it in parts when I needed to," the Brit added. 

"I thought I did that quite well, and overall, I adapted well to the conditions out there, adapted well to my opponent and really just tried to do the best that I could on the day."

Up next, Konta will get a shot at her second Top 10 player in as many weeks after a win over Riske in No.7 seed Sloane Stephens. The Brit was upended by Simona Halep in the second round last week in Madrid, but looks to stretch her head-to-head against the former US Open champion to 2-0.

"She's an incredible player. She's an incredible athlete so she brings a lot of firepower to court," Konta said of Stephens, whom she beat in January at the Brisbane International in straight sets.

"She does very well on all the surfaces, so here on clay as well she can be a very dangerous player. I know going in that I'll be expecting her to play very well, have some incredible points.

"I just need to trust what I do out there and really enjoy playing against one of the best players in the world. This is my third tournament on clay now, and overall, I'm enjoying being on the surface."

Elsewhere around the grounds at the Foro Italico on Monday, Katerina Siniakova scored a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over No.15 seed Wang Qiang, as the lone unseeded player to score an upset over a seed on the day.

Slovakia's Viktoria Kuzmova dropped just one game against home favorite former French Open finalist Sara Errani, 6-1, 6-0, while her compatriot Dominika Cibulkova downed Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2, 6-3; Yulia Putintseva eased past Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4, 6-2; and Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic edged Slovenia qualifier Tamara Zidansek, 7-6(1), 6-4.