French Open 2019: Johanna Konta defeats Antonia Lottner to break Roland Garros curse

The Brit reached the second round for the first time in five attempts

Eleanor Crooks
Monday 27 May 2019 12:58
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Johanna Konta won in straight sets in an hour and 19 minutes
Johanna Konta won in straight sets in an hour and 19 minutes

Johanna Konta finally ended her French Open hoodoo by beating Antonia Lottner to reach the second round for the first time in five attempts.

Konta has had a breakthrough clay-court season this year, winning more tour-level matches than in the rest of her career combined, capped by an unexpected run to the final of the Italian Open in Rome last weekend.

That was enough to lift her back among the 32 seeds in Paris and she took advantage of a kind draw by seeing off German qualifier Lottner 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 19 minutes.

Lottner, ranked 147, was a significant step down from the players she beat in Rome, including Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and Kiki Bertens, but getting over the line at a tournament that does not hold happy memories was never likely to be entirely straightforward.

Konta dropped serve in the opening game but soon began to find depth and penetration on her ground strokes and moved into a 3-1 lead.

Lottner has a fine backhand but her forehand is significantly weaker while her second serve took a pounding from Konta throughout the match.

The British number one failed to serve out the opening set at 5-3 and Lottner had two chances to level at 5-5 but Konta was determined not to get dragged into a battle and reeled off four points in a row to secure yet another break.

Johanna Konta celebrates victory 

The second set was a much tighter affair, with both players holding serve relatively comfortably until Konta found herself facing three break points at 4-4.

The prospect of a deciding set loomed but Konta's well of confidence is deep right now and she produced more decisive play to stave off the threat.

She got her reward when Lottner coughed up two match points in the next game, and Konta showed no hesitation in taking the first to stride through to a very winnable second-round clash with American Lauren Davis on Wednesday.

PA

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