Konta starts well in Doha
Originally published on 13/02/18 00:00
It was sweet revenge for the 26-year-old who suffered a shock straight set defeat to the lowly-ranked American at last month’s Australian Open.
Konta edged a tightly-contested opener that lasted 64 minutes before dominating a one-sided second set. The No.10 seed will encounter either Carla Suarez Navarro or Kateryna Bondarenko in the second round.
The British No.1, fresh from helping Great Britain reach the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs, raced into a 3-0 lead before being pegged back by her tenacious opponent.
Pera had the opportunity to serve for the set after establishing a 6-5 advantage, however she faltered and was soon embroiled in the lottery of a tiebreak.
At 5-5 in the shootout, Pera tugged a midcourt forehand wide to slip a minibreak behind. It was a glaring miss from the American, and her misery was compounded moments later as Konta clinched the opener.
It had been a scrappy first set, and the Brit looked far from convincing in the baseline exchanges. She improved considerably in the second set though, and further capitalised on her rival’s anguish.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Petra Kvitova extended her winning run to eight matches with a thumping 6-0 6-3 success over Cagla Buyukakcay.
“I'm happy to be here,” said the Czech, who triumphed in St. Petersburg two weeks ago. “It’s definitely a tough schedule for me, but getting an eighth win is something really nice for me.
“It's been really long since I've had such a good run. I'm just trying to continue with that."
Kristina Mladenovic’s upturn in fortunes continued after a 6-2 6-4 win over Shuai Peng and Madison Keys dismissed Qiang Wang 6-1 6-4.
There were also victories for Garbine Muguruza, Alize Cornet, Marketa Vondrousova and Anastasija Sevastova.