Konta starts clay swing with Madrid win

April 30, 2021
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    Johanna Konta makes a shotJohanna Konta has played just seven matches in 2021, winning three of them

    British number one Johanna Konta began her clay-court campaign with victory over Yulia Putintseva in the first round of the Madrid Open.

    Konta, seeded 15th at the event, beat Kazakhstan's Putintseva 6-4 6-2 for just her third victory of the year.

    The Briton missed Great Britain's Billie Jean King Cup play-off tie against Mexico this month to prepare for the clay-court swing.

    She will play either Anastasija Sevastova or Ana Bogdan next.

    Konta, who has been managing a long-term knee problem, said there was a balancing act to be done between playing in tournaments and living in on-site bubbles.

    "It's very different playing under these circumstances compared to what our old normal used to be," she said.

    "For me, it's about managing where I feel like I'm able to really put myself out there to perform the best that I can."

    Australia's world number one Ashleigh Barty claimed her 12th consecutive win on red clay with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Shelby Rogers of America.

    However, fourth seed Elina Svitolina squandered six match points as she was stunned by Jil Teichmann of Switzerland.

    Ukrainian Svitolina let a 5-1 lead slip in the deciding set as Teichmann came through 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

    Elsewhere, Britain's Cameron Norrie beat Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez to reach the Estoril Open quarter-finals.

    Norrie fought for three hours to win 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 and set up a meeting with second seed Cristian Garin of Chile.

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