Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova sends Johanna Konta packing
Johanna Konta's wait for a first-round victory at Wimbledon continues after the British hope was overwhelmed by fourth seed Maria Sharapova.
Russia's five-time grand slam winner dispatched Konta 6-2 6-2 to condemn Australia-born Konta to a fourth-successive defeat at SW19.
Konta lost to the eventual-champion Belinda Bencic at the Eastbourne quarter-finals but was unable to make that momentum count in south west London on Monday.
The 24-year-old was justified in targeting a first Wimbledon win at the fourth time of asking - until she drew 2004 champion Sharapova.
Watched on by Fed Cup captain Judy Murray, Konta was unable to channel the battling spirits employed by fellow Briton Liam Broady, who had earlier seen off Marinko Matosevic in a five-set thriller.
Konta insisted she was unfazed by either the occasion or the opponent in reacting to her defeat to Sharapova, then immediately switched focus to her doubles duties.
Konta described herself as "one of the luckiest athletes in the world" to go straight from taking on Sharapova to line up against Venus and Serena Williams in the doubles.
Already gearing up to face the 12th seeds with partner Maria Sanchez, Konta said: "I feel I'm one of the luckiest athletes in the world that I get to play not one, not two, but three incredible champions in the string of a few days. Not many people can say that.
"I'm very much just looking forward to the opportunity, going out there and giving my best with my partner.
"I've been playing and I train every day to be able to compete against the best in the world at the best events in the world. You don't get much better than this. You don't get many better players than the players I'm playing.
"I've been fortunate enough that I've been playing a lot of good players in the last few weeks.
"Today it was no different. You can start saying, 'I've been there, been in the scenario before'. You might be that little bit more comfortable from the get go.
"I felt very comfortable out there, I didn't feel overwhelmed by the situation, nor did I feel overwhelmed by the player I was playing."
Belfast Telegraph Digital