Hard-hitting British no.1 shellshocks opponent

Johanna Konta, the British no.1, blasted past qualifier Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove to storm into the next round at the Notingham Open with an emphatic 6-1 6-3 triumph.

The top seed, who once reached the dizzy heights of world no.4, completely overwhelmed the Dutch 29-year-old by racing away with the opening set after dropping the first game.

Pattinama Kerkhove, who has been married to soccer star SV Deltasport Vlaardingen striker Edinho Pattinama for almost two years, altered her tactics for the second set yet had no answer to Konta’s power game on Centre Court.

For 30-year-old Konta this was a breeze on her favourite surface, and now the Eastbourne-based star can put her torrid clay court season behind her to concentrate on Nottingham and Eastbourne before another shot at making an impression at Wimbledon.

This morale-boosting success for Australian-born Konta, who was eagerly practising on grass in London last week on her swift return from Paris, should kick-start her season on the WTA Tour as she gears herself up for the fast courts where the 30-year-old undoubtedly plays her best.

Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Konta had the bit between her teeth with an all round game and was fearless in despatching Pattinama Kerkhove, whose only main draw foray at Wimbledon was two years when she failed to win a match.

Konta announced that following her shock 1st Round exit as no.19 seed at the French Open that she will be seeking her seventh coach after splitting with Russian Dimitri Zavialoff fora second time. Zavialoff replaced American coach Michael Joyce, who previously coached world no.1 aces Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Russian Maria Sharapova.

Konta, who last played in her adopted country at the quarter-final stage of 2019 Wimbledon and wrapped her win in just under an hour in front of 400 spectators, said: “It was really nice to be playing at home, on the grass. Playing in front of a home crowd makes me very happy, I feel very grateful.

“It was a really great match to play, but It was tricky. The first match on grass is always quite tricky, just to find your bearings and just to try to play on a new surface.

“I was definitely getting the best of what grass can offer in terms of getting low bounces. Overall, I was pleased to compete and win that match to be staying here and getting another opportunity to play another one.”