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Johanna Konta suffers setback ahead of Wimbledon


Shock loss: Johanna Konta crashed out of the Eastbourne International yesterday
Shock loss: Johanna Konta crashed out of the Eastbourne International yesterday
Well played: Kyle Edmund shakes hands with Cameron Norrie after beating him in Eastbourne

By Eleanor Crooks

Johanna Konta suffered a significant setback in her preparations for Wimbledon when she lost in straight sets to Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in the third round at Eastbourne.

The British No.1 will therefore enter Wimbledon having played only four grass-court matches, after also being eliminated at the second-round stage in Birmingham last week.

She led by a break in the first set before eventually succumbing to a 6-3 6-2 defeat, missing out on a quarter-final clash against Alize Cornet.

Konta made a promising start against Jabeur, the World No.62, in moving 3-2 ahead, but her opponent immediately broke back and seized the momentum to thereafter largely ease to victory.

She also played as though hesitant on a surface that had been rained on, and struggled to convince with her serve.

Konta, who during the clay-court season had reached two WTA finals and the final four of the French Open, is the 19th seed at Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.

"I think the rain brought me luck and the win," said Jabeur, who will face Cornet for a place in the semi-finals. Frenchwoman Cornet beat China's Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-2.

"I like the way I played. I like to make crazy shots. The crowd are very fair. Konta is a great player and has inspired me in the past. I hope the crowd can come with me now."

Meanwhile, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was also knocked out.

The Danish 11th seed was beaten 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) by eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber booked her place in the last eight, coming through a tight first set before running away with the second in a 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 victory over Swedish World No.66 Rebecca Peterson.

The German fourth seed will face former World No.1 Simona Halep, who was forced to dig deep to beat battling Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-1 4-6 6-3.

Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova took less than an hour to brush aside Elise Merten 6-1 6-2 and set up a quarter-final against Russian World No.52 Ekaterina Alexandrova, who went through after 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko retired when trailing 6-3 2-1.

Britain's Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans will meet in the quarter-finals today after their respective victories over Cameron Norrie and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

British No.1 Edmund had to overcome a delay in play of 50 minutes while two spectators received medical treatment, but eased by his fellow countryman Norrie 6-2 6-2.

Evans, who is the British No.3 behind Edmund and Norrie, demonstrated signs of frustration during the second set of his victory over France's Herbert, but he also impressed, winning 6-3 7-5.

Edmund said: "I have moved on (physically, from the French Open). I'm feeling a lot better and happier with myself.

"I was better at Queen's (last week) and I feel better this week. It's good that I can sort of transition what I have been doing in practice onto the match court.

"I have not played a lot of matches, in terms of winning a lot of matches. The more I can get, the more momentum I can pick up, is just great for me and building on my game.

"Every time I play a match and come through it in a positive way, I like that. So it's sort of another opportunity (today). But it will be a tricky match with Dan. It always is, and on grass, it's probably his best surface."

There were also victories for Americans Sam Querrey and Taylor Fritz, respectively over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia and Argentina's Guido Pella. Querrey won 6-2 6-3, while Fritz dropped the second set in winning 6-4 3-6 6-4.

Spain's Fernando Verdasco recovered from losing the opening set to beat Argentinian Juan Ignacio Londero 6-7 (4) 6-3 7-6 (2).

Frenchman Gilles Simon won 6-2 6-4 against Nicolas Jarry of Chile, Poland's Hubert Hurkacz won 6-3 7-6 (6) over American Steve Johnson, and Thomas Fabbiano of Italy won 7-6 (5) 7-6 (6) against Serbian Laslo Djere.

At the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya, there were also victories for Bernard Tomic and qualifier Viktor Troicki.

Australia's Tomic won 7-6 (3) 6-3 against Peter Gojowczyk of Germany, and Serbian Troicki unexpectedly beat France's number one seed Benoit Paire 7-6 (4) 7-6 (5).

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