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Victorious Konta keen to keep feet on ground

 

In groove: Johanna Konta sails into the third round
In groove: Johanna Konta sails into the third round
Serena Williams

By Andy Sims

Johanna Konta played down comparisons of her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals two years ago despite another impressive display taking her smoothly into the third round.

The British No.1 has yet to drop a set at this year's event after a commanding 6-3 6-4 victory against Katerina Siniakova.

Konta reached the last four in 2017, and rose to No.4 in the world, but her form dipped last year.

The 28-year-old, a semi-finalist at the French Open, said: "I don't really compare myself to myself. I think I'm in a good place right now. I think I'm playing good tennis.

"I'm definitely enjoying the tennis I'm playing. I feel like I'm asking my opponents a lot of questions. I feel like I'm answering quite a few as well, when they ask me questions.

"I think I've been kind of building on my level each tournament, each match I've been playing as the season has been going. I'm pleased with that.

"We know it's never just an upward trajectory. Overall I'm just really glad that I came through a tough match and I'm looking forward to the third round."

Czech player Siniakova, ranked 38th in the world, beat Konta in their only previous meeting in 2017, but she was hardly given a sniff of a repeat on Centre Court.

It was a ruthless performance, particularly on serve, from Konta who looks to be building on the form she showed at Roland Garros.

She will now face American Sloane Stephens, who she swept aside 6-4 6-1 in Paris.

Stephens said: "It's been a rough year with Jo Konta! I've got to get her this time.

"But she's a great player, so I'm just going to have to go out and try a new game plan, new style, try some different stuff."

For the second time in four days, a Wimbledon champion called Williams found herself being whipped by a high school teenager but in the end it was Serena Williams dishing out the punishment as she stormed to a 2-6 6-2 6-4 second-round win over Slovenia's Kaja Juvan.

The 18-year-old Juvan appeared to have being inspired by 15-year-old Cori Gauff's sensational first-round win over Serena's elder sister Venus, a five-time winner at the All England Club, as she came out swinging to break Serena twice in the opening set.

An ugly smash into the net not only handed Juvan the set but it also left an angry Serena staring at the ball in disgust.

But if the Court One fans feared it might be a case of 'Gone on the Fourth of July' for America's most decorated tennis player, they had obviously not kept tabs on the career of an athlete who is chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

The 37-year-old missed easy slam dunks and belted the ball wide while on break point.

But despite producing more unforced errors (26) than winners (25), she put on a winning show for her friend Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, to seal a place in the third round against Germany's Julia Goerges.

Petra Kvitova's decision to give her shoes an almighty whack with her racket turned out to be a masterstroke as the Czech's legs finally started to move more freely, and she eked out a 7-5 6-2 win over Kristina Mladenovic.

The sixth seed did not exactly enjoy the most promising of starts - she was broken in the opening game and fell 5-3 behind when she squandered three break points in the eighth game.

She took out her frustrations on her personalized shoes, giving one of them such a powerful blow with her racket frame that it briefly left her grimacing.

Two games later, Kvitova saved three set points to level for 5-5.

The 2011 and 2014 champion was swinging more freely from then on as she won 10 of the last 12 games to book a place in the third round for the first time since 2015. She will next face either Poland's Magda Linette or 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova.

Belfast Telegraph

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